Judaism/Spirituality

When good people do bad things

Orthodox communities all over the world continue to struggle with the wave of child sexual abuse accusations coming forth. While there are certainly challenges with any close-knit community dealing with the fallout from public accusations, one would think that once the courts have ruled, the matter would be settled. Yet …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – T’tzavveh

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. THE MISSING MOSES Moses is not mentioned in T’tzavveh, nor is God is mentioned in the M’gillah. The reasons for both omissions are debated in a sheaf of studies. Actually they are less of a problem than it seems. Even when Moses …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. Question. Was Jesus really a rabbi? Answer. The title “rav” is found in the Bible as a leader or authority. It was a title of honour, but not until the early Common Era did it indicate a person learned in Jewish tradition, …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – T’rumah

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. A PRISONER IN THE SYNAGOGUE. In this week’s sidra the command to build the sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) is not what we would expect. Instead of saying, “Let them build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in its midst”, God promises, “…and …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi on black hats

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. MARRYING ON TUESDAY Question.  Why is it considered good to get married on a Tuesday? Answer.  The Creation story has the constant refrain that when God saw what He had made, He said it was good. On the third day, however, He …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Mishpatim

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple DAMAGES & PIETY People who look for spirituality generally seem to have no patience for this week’s reading. What does the sidra deal with? Crimes and torts, dangers and damages – not the eternal soul and spirit, but the earthly body. All …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple. KABBALAH: FOR OR AGAINST? Question.  Are you in favour of Kabbalah? Answer.  Kabbalah (literally “tradition”) is the metaphysical aspect of Judaism. Those who prefer a rationalist approach find it difficult. The kabbalists themselves make a distinction between “sit’rei kabbalah”, “the secrets of …

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OzTorah: Torah reading – Yitro

OzTorah submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.                                                          IT JUST CAN’T HAPPEN! The Ten Plagues. The Ten Commandments. Both are miraculous. The miracle of the plagues was brought about by God. The miracle of the commandments will be brought about by man. If anyone had been told that water would …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

Ask the Rabbi: Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. THE CHUPPAH. Question.  At marriages I have seen the “chuppah” situated either indoors or outside. Is there any preference as to where it should be? Also, why do the bride and groom to have a few minutes together in …

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OzTorah: Torah reading: B’shallach

Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple. FORCING THE HOUR The departure of the Israelites from Egypt began the long saga of Jewish history. A people that had endured common suffering and shared a common dream of salvation were finally able to leave Egypt and weld themselves into the People of …

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Ask the Rabbi on a “virtual reality” minyan

A VIRTUAL REALITY MINYAN Question.  If a shule has problems with a minyan, how about a “virtual reality” minyan? Answer.  A minyan, a quorum of ten males of the age of Bar-Mitzvah or over, is needed for Kaddish, K’dushah, Bar’chu and the Torah reading. The ten, who may include the …

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OzTorah from Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.. POOL PARTIES Question. At this time of year some people in my block of apartments have social gatherings round the pool which are annoying with their noise and loud music. What does Jewish teaching say about neighbours and privacy? Answer. Jewish ethics …

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OzTorah from Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple

Written and Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple.. SHOUTING AT GOD. The sages believed that God and Moses knew each other well. God allowed Moses to see things that were denied to other people; Moses spoke to God in terms that amaze us. In this sidra Moses says what other …

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The Kaddish Club

They gather together in the middle of the work day, converging on venues around the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD) for about ten minutes, then returning to their busy work schedules. They are the men of the ‘ Club’. There is a long tradition of mincha in the Melbourne CBD – with …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

  WHY BE JEWISH? Every Jew has an attitude to Jewishness. For some it is negative; Heine said, “Judaism is not a religion. It is a misfortune.” But those who are negative are today very few. The 20th century has seen to that. The Holocaust confronted Jews with an ideology …

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OzTorah: Ask the Rabbi.

  Submitted by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple Question.. Is there a Jewish view of polygamy? Answer  A number of Biblical figures had more than one wife, but polygamy was never the Jewish ideal. When Eve was created as a wife for Adam, the Torah said, “Thus shall a man leave …

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Selection of Chanukah articles

Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple served for 32 years as the chief minister of the Great Synagogue, Sydney, and was Australia’s highest profile rabbi and the leading spokesperson for Jews and Judaism on the Australian continent. He is now retired and lives in Jerusalem. Rabbi Apple blogs at http://www.oztorah.com  oztorah@oztorah.com   …

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Our Culture of Silence Must Change

We knew. We knew that Mendel* was an abusive husband and parent. His family lived a secluded and very private life, his children home schooled, and his wife barely went out. When they needed assistance from the community it was provided, but those helping were not allowed inside the house …

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