I WAS THERE. “In every generation a person must see himself as if they had come out of Egypt”. That’s what the Haggadah says. The Pesach story isn’t merely an ancient event involving our ancestors, but a personal experience in which we ourselves took part. We were there. We were …Read More »
Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple
Oz Torah: Pesach features.
Pesach features A TIMETABLE FOR THE SEDER? How long should the Seder take? Let me tell you what our family does. We have a timetable for Seder night. The first hour brings us to the meal, then we eat (for which we allocate another hour), then the second part of …Read More »
Oz Torah: Like the bread of affliction – Ask the Rabbi
Ask the Rabbi LIKE THE BREAD OF AFFLICTION. Q. Why do some Haggadot say “Ha Lachma Anya” – “This is the Bread of Affliction” while others say “K’ha Lachma Anya” – “This is *like* the Bread of Affliction”? A. They are indicating that the matzah we use is a replica …Read More »
Oz Torah: Gambling – Ask the Rabbi
GAMBLING. Q. Is there any religious problem with Jews gambling? A. An occasional lottery ticket or card game is no problem, but the professional or compulsive gambler is severely frowned on in Jewish law. The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 3:3) disqualifies the dice-player – “m’sachek b’kuvya” – from being a witness in …Read More »
Oz Torah: Hunting – Ask the Rabbi
HUNTING. Q. Is it true that hunting is against Jewish law? A. Absolutely. We have a duty to emulate God who is tenderly concerned for animals as well as people (Psalm 145:9). The historian William Lecky wrote, “Tenderness to animals is one of the most beautiful features of the Old …Read More »
Antisemitism at its finest!
I came across this article I wrote just on four years ago, which was ‘inspired’ by an antisemitic post on the website. I thought it was worthwhile posting again. I thought I’d share this tasty tit-bit of antisemitism with everyone, which I received last week. I suppose it’s part and …Read More »
Oz Torah: The genesis of Purim.
THE GENESIS OF PURIM. The popularity of Purim is taken for granted. As the Jewish carnival of fun and frolic it has a universal appeal. Purim spiels, Purim deals, Purim meals … all are part of the celebration. No-one can imagine the Jewish year without it. In fact it has …Read More »
Oz Torah: The Fast of Esther – Ask the Rabbi.
TA’ANIT ESTHER. The day before Purim is called “Ta’anit Esther”, the Fast of Esther. Despite the popular view, it does not commemorate the three-day fast described in the Megillah (Esther 4:16). Three days cannot be telescoped into one day, and in any case our Fast of Esther is not mentioned …Read More »
Oz Torah: Fur coats – Ask the Rabbi
FUR COATS. Q. What does Jewish law say about wearing fur coats? A. The late Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Chayyim David Halevi, deals with this issue in his volume of responsa (“Mayim Chayyim”, vol. 2, 1995). He reports that a member of the Israeli public approached him after …Read More »
Oz Torah: Whisky on a Yahrzeit – Ask the Rabbi.
WHISKY ON A YAHRZEIT. Q. Why do Chasidim drink whisky on a Yahrzeit? A. First it must be said that although a Yahrzeit is a German term adopted by Jews in the late middle ages, the notion of commemorating the anniversary of a parent or teacher’s death …Read More »
Oz Torah: Religious revival – Ask the Rabbi
RELIGIOUS REVIVAL. The days have gone when Bible and religion dominated most people’s lives. Yet, for all the evidence of a weakening of religious commitment, there is at the same time talk of a religious revival. Religion has become almost respectable among intellectuals. Dozens of books, plays, films and radio …Read More »
Oz Torah: : Fallen rabbis – Ask the Rabbi.
FALLEN RABBIS. Q. If a rabbi has lost his credibility do we still follow his rulings? A. Rabbi Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University recently gave a serious analysis of the problem, concluding by basically saying “No”. He pointed out that Malachi 2:7 as expounded by the sages requires a rabbi …Read More »
Oz Torah : The Rich List – Ask the Rabbi.
THE RICH LIST. With the end of a year, many people look back and sum up the events of the past 12 months. For some the major concern is how much money they made or failed to make, whether interest rates went up or did not go up, whether they …Read More »
Oz Torah: The Arizal – Ask the Rabbi
THE ARIZAL. Q. Some Jews say they follow the customs of the Arizal. Who was this? A. Arizal is the name popularly given to Rabbi Isaac ben Shlomo Luria, 1534-1572. Because his ancestry was German, Ashkenazi is often added to his name. Hence “Ari” is the initials of “Ashkenazi Rabbi …Read More »
Oz Torah: The 7 Chanukahs.
LIGHTS INSIDE & OUT. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that the Chanukah lights fulfil a double purpose. They are a source of light within the house, and they also symbolise the duty of bringing light to the world outside. This is suggested by midrashic sources which speak of the Jewish people …Read More »
Oz Torah: A Chanukah Alphabet.
A CHANUKAH ALPHABET. AL HANISSIM – thanksgiving prayer for the Chanukah miracle; inserted in the Amidah and Grace After Meals. ANTIOCHUS – Syrian Greek ruler called Epiphanes (“glorious”) by his admirers and Epimanes (“madman“) by his detractors. BET HILLEL & BET SHAMMAI – rival schools of thought: Bet Shammai ruled …Read More »
Oz Torah: Divinity & the dinosaurs – Ask the Rabbi.
DIVINITY & THE DINOSAURS. Q. How can Judaism say the universe is 5778 years old when science proves that dinosaurs lived long before this? A. There is a widespread view that science and religion are eternal enemies. However, the scientists themselves don’t think so. One scientist after another has pointed …Read More »
Oz Torah: Who needs Mashi’ach? – Ask the Rabbi.
WHO NEEDS MASHI’ACH? Q. Who needs the Mashi’ach? Can’t we just get on with life on earth? A. The basic idea behind the messianic belief is that history has to be going somewhere. For Judaism, that “somewhere” is the age of perfection ushered in and presided over by a messianic …Read More »
Oz Torah: Copyright – Ask the Rabbi.
JEWS & GENTILES. Q. What do Jewish teachings say about the way in which Jews should interact with non-Jews? A. The Talmudic attitude to gentiles was ambivalent. It is obvious from the Mishnah tractate Avodah Zarah that there was considerable contact with non-Jews, but at the same time Jews were …Read More »
Oz Torah: Insights on Sh’mini Atzeret & Simchat Torah.
THE RABBI’S RETREAT. The Rabbi of Sassov, Rav Moshe Leib, used to ask why Sukkot, Sh’mini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are so different from Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. He said he had found an answer when he saw that the Torah said that Sh’mini Atzeret was “a time of …Read More »