Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple

Oz Torah: Rosh HaShanah features.

GOD WITHOUT RELIGION. No Jewish hymn is as popular as Adon Olam. Not only in the synagogue but on the concert platform and wherever people sing. The rhyme and rhythm are a godsend to pop-composers. Never mind that it is highly religious poetry and many people (performers and audiences alike) …

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Oz Torah: A Rosh HaShanah prelude.

NO-ONE DIED OF HUNGER. Three major themes punctuate our Holyday services – penitence, prayer and charity. We are good at penitence, in the sense that when we find ourselves at the periphery of Jewish life we often find our way back and become “ba’alei t’shuvah”, “reversioners”, as an expert on …

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Oz Torah. Shehecheyanu – Ask the Rabbi

SHEHECHEYANU Q. Many of us hum the fast-paced musical rendition of “Shehecheyanu”, but what are the words all about? A. The composition you hum is probably by Meyer Machtenberg, an Eastern European choirmaster who flourished in the United States a century ago. “Shehecheyanu” has been part of Jewish life for …

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Oz Torah: Ambition – Ask the Rabbi

AMBITION. Q. Does Judaism have a problem with people being ambitious? A. Alan Marshall, an Australian author who overcame polio, wrote a book, “I Can Jump Puddles!”   An American educator interviewed at the age of 70 said he was still climbing mountains, at least metaphorically. In the Book of …

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Oz Torah: Ask the Rabbi The ‘Apocrypha’

Q. What are the Apocrypha? A. The Apocrypha are the “hidden or secret books” excluded from the Hebrew Bible though accepted in some Christian versions. The Apocrypha contains some colourful stories, though there are also some slight works which appear to lack classical Biblical quality. Apart from the contents of …

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Oz Torah: Insights on Tishah B’Av.

KAMTZA & BAR-KAMTZA: WHO WAS THE CULPRIT? Tishah B’Av every year predictably evokes the story of Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza, two men with similar names who were involved in events which are said to have brought about the destruction of the Temple, which is the catastrophe commemorated by Tishah B’Av. The …

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Oz Torah: Ask the Rabbi – suicide

SUICIDE. Life is the supreme value, a gift from God to be cherished, appreciated and tended. Man is made in the image of God (not in a physical but an intellectual, spiritual and moral sense), so whoever destroys a life also diminishes God. We are warned to take care of …

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Oz Torah: Ask the Rabbi.

RABBIS REMAINING IN THE DIASPORA. Question.    Why do some rabbis prefer living in the Diaspora to Israel? Answer.      They know that the Talmud says that if you live outside Israel it seems that you have no God (Ket. 110b). Tosafot to that passage says that some people are reluctant to …

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