Posts in Ask the Rabbi

My husband is holding me back

April 10th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 23 comments

Dear Rabbi and Susan,

We have an opportunity to increase our family income by double. We currently make about 40K a year between my husband and I.

I was accepted into a one year program that would give me the skills and connections to make between 50-80k a year myself excluding my husbands income. We would have to move about 500 miles away from our families and where we were both born but only for a year and then we could decide where to go after that.

My husband doesn’t want me to accept. He isn’t one for change and hates California, he doesn’t want to live there even for a year… I want to honor him and I understand that making more than him could cause some strain on our marriage… am I wrong for wanting this? I’m trying not to be bitter… but I’ve always been a bit ambitious and the idea of turning this opportunity down has caused me some internal struggle.

Cynthia S. 

Dear Cynthia,

You sound like a sincere and sensitive woman who is trying her hardest to cope with a difficult challenge.  Our usual disclaimer applies even more to you and your dilemma:  Since we don’t know any of our ‘Ask the Rabbi’ letter-writers personally we can hope only to raise discussion points that will be helpful along with perhaps a few considerations that you may not have yet contemplated.  We also have great confidence in our readers and know that they often contribute valuable comments.  We always read them with great interest.

You clearly recognize many of the valid concerns involved, including some that conflict with one another. You are aware of the need to respect your husband and of the potential threat to your marriage that earning more than he does can impose. You are also aware of the importance of every individual, man or woman, making the most of his or her talents, abilities and opportunities.

A number of things are unclear from your letter.  You mention that between you both, you earn $40K.  Is that half each?  Or is it mostly your husband’s earnings or mostly yours?  A joint income of $40,000 doesn’t go very far these days, yet you don’t suggest that you are struggling. Is your husband on a path to higher earnings or is he content with things as they are?  Do you feel that you are more ambitious than he is?

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How did Moses know he was an Israelite?

April 3rd, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 20 comments

Hello,

First I would like to say that I watch your show every morning and I absolutely love it. Thank you so much for what you are doing. I have learned so much!

Now for my question, how did Moses know he wasn’t Egyptian and that he was an Israelite? It’s driving me crazy. Am I missing it in scripture or is the answer found in ancient Jewish wisdom?  Thanks for reading.

Respectfully,

Cynthia A.
Boston, Virginia

Dear Cynthia,

We are delighted that you watch our Ancient Jewish Wisdom TV show on TCT. We are also delighted with your question! It is a wonderful question that shows a willingness to seek beyond the surface of Scripture and explore it with mature eyes.

We suggest you can find the beginning of an answer in Scripture, by looking in Exodus and in Chronicles, with ancient Jewish wisdom filling in the blanks. In Exodus 2:6 we see that Pharaoh’s daughter knew that the baby she drew from the water was a Hebrew. She even looked for a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby! In 1 Chronicles 4:18,  we find a woman named Bit-Ya, daughter of Pharaoh. The name Bit-Ya translates as “daughter of God,” and ancient Jewish wisdom tells us that God called her by that name saying, “You called Moses your son though he was not; I will call you my daughter though you are not.”

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Is this prayer inappropriate?

March 28th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 12 comments

Should we pray for things that are within our control or that we can accomplish ourselves (e.g. working harder, being more patient, or being more disciplined)?

Thank you.

Justin A.

Dear Justin,

Many years ago, a South African immigrant to America (Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s mother, to be specific) asked a friend to pick up some strawberry jelly for her at the store. When the friend delivered the requested jars of jelly, the immigrant was confused. She was actually asking for a Jello type dessert mix, but in America jelly means something quite different.

Among the words prone to misunderstanding, prayer ranks rather high. We are often exposed to the idea of praying to God as children, yet what exactly we are doing needs constant refinement and growing awareness as we mature.

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Is an age gap in marriage a problem?

March 21st, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 29 comments

When considering marriage: Is an age gap (10-15 years) a bad idea (specifically for a girl being the younger)?

Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,

You have probably heard that a physician shouldn’t treat members of his own family and that a lawyer must recuse herself from cases that strike too close to home.

On that basis, we admit up front that we are not objective observers on this question since a bit more than ten years separates the two of us. It is with that awareness of some potential bias that we approach your question.

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My friends’ success bothers me

March 13th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 18 comments

I was doing great one Saturday morning. I had my morning devotion and meditated on the word of God. I was enjoying time with my family when I went online and saw how a friend of mine had an outpouring of love during a celebration, then I instantly felt sad.

I wondered why don’t I get people to celebrate and honour me? My question is this, how do I overcome instant feelings of sadness when I see my friend celebrating and enjoying life?

How can I get people around me to celebrate me, is it wrong to desire honour and celebration?

Thank you.

Dear Wan,

You are asking two very real and very human questions that affect most of us during our lives. The first question is how to feel happy rather than envious when good things happen to your friends. The second question is whether it is wrong to desire honor and celebration.

We have good news for you and bad news for you.  The good news is that feeling envy when good things happen to others and feeling joy when bad things happen to them is perfectly natural.  The bad news is that natural does not mean acceptable; God expects you to overcome this natural tendency and root out that part of your nature.

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Too Ill to Work?

March 6th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 37 comments

I just completed the audio version of Business Secrets From The Bible. In one word the content was wonderful. The book spoke to me.

My dilemma is unique. Because of serious life threatening physical challenges and learning issues it is difficult to work a so called regular job. 

I need and want more money and I sincerely desire to serve my fellow man and in that mix I can honestly say that retirement is not an option. What you say about retirement in the book is true. It’s detrimental to a man’s mental, physical and spiritual life. 

I need and want help in this area. In other words I want to get back to work now. 

Do you have any suggestions? It’s fine with me if you have tough words so please don’t sugar coat reality. 

Sincerely,

Larry A. G.

Dear Larry,

First, thank you for your kind words about our book Business Secrets from the Bible: 40 Success Strategies for Financial Abundance.

The most challenging aspect of writing answers to people who “Ask The Rabbi” is to make sure that we are responding only from a place of love and empathy.  Nonetheless, our duty frequently includes telling truths that can hurt, as truth often does.   Not only does ancient Jewish wisdom prohibit us from administering painful words with arrogance and indifference but in such circumstances,  the Help we receive from Heaven would undoubtedly be withheld.  You can see that even had you not invited us to tell you the tough truth without sugarcoating we would have done so once we were certain that we were writing with compassion and a spirit of wanting you to be uplifted.  By the time you get to the end of our words, we hope you’ll agree that we have provided you with the escalator by means of which you can lift yourself. 

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Can I propose to someone else’s lady?

February 27th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 11 comments

What would you say about proposing to a girl that is in a relationship with someone?

Tafadzwa

Dear Tafadzwa,

What would we say?  We’d say “Go for it!” Or we might smilingly allude to movies like The Wedding Planner, Made of Honor, and Sweet Home Alabama in all of which the bride ditched the groom just before the wedding, for her true love. But we think we can do better.

You are clearly a straight-forward guy and we hope you don’t mind that our answer will be a mite longer than your question. The bottom line is that we see no moral, ethical, or religious reason not to pop the question.  You see, any woman is in only one of two states: single or married. That’s all.  There is nothing else.  Engaged; in a relationship; seeing someone; got a boyfriend; are all meaningless.

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What kind of role models are these!

February 21st, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 33 comments

My wife and I love listening to your podcast.

I have a question that no Rabbi has been able to answer to my satisfaction. (It could be that they have answered the question accurately but it never resonated with me.)

It’s about Jacob and his children. Jacob is revered by us and his children were given the privilege of having tribes named after them. What bothers me is that these were not nice children. Judah had a terrible mean streak and was known to hang out with women of ill repute. His brothers sold a brother into slavery. They lied to their parents, they wiped out entire cities for revenge. (If I was Jacob’s neighbor my kids would have been under strict instructions to avoid them at all cost!)

Where does the reverence for Jacob’s children come from and why do rabbis insist on calling them righteous?

Cliff

Dear Cliff,

We’re not sure we can answer this question to your satisfaction, but we are going to try and contribute perspective which we hope you will appreciate.

Recently, a book about a complicated woman, Dr. Anne Spoerry was published.  (In Full Flight by John Heminway)  She fought the Nazis while part of the French Resistance. She was betrayed and sent to a concentration camp where she collaborated with the Nazis in monstrous crimes against other captives.  To escape war crime prosecution, she fled to Kenya and spent the rest of her life saving the lives of thousands of Africans.

To the Africans whose lives she improved and saved while working devotedly on that continent she is a heroine. The concentration camp internees who saw her as a sadistic torturer viewed her very differently. A snapshot of her work for the Resistance before she was sent to a concentration camp would reveal another aspect of her personality. We haven’t read the book yet, but we surmise that Dr. Spoerry was an incredibly powerful and complex woman. We may never know the truth about her feelings, motivations and even her actions but her life does serve as a reminder that God created humans as amazingly complicated beings.

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Should my children read Harry Potter?

February 13th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 30 comments

Dear Rabbi and Susan,

I’m an orthodox Jewish homeschool mom of five and I love your show! Our homeschool curriculum focuses heavily on reading good literature and my kids have just reached the age where Edward Eager’s tales of magic, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as many others in the fantasy genre are on many recommended reading lists.

I’m unsure of how to approach the element of magic in children’s stories. The Torah forbids witchcraft, so should stories that feature magic be anathema to my Torah-observant kids?

Thanks for the great materials you produce. I consider them part of my continuing education. 🙂

Jessie W.

Dear Jessie,

We’re delighted that you watch our show and that you are homeschooling. As you may know, we homeschooled for many years and a number of our grandchildren are now being homeschooled as well.

Some of our children were the intended audience age when the first Harry Potter book came out.  This book became a major topic of discussion among both the Jewish and Christian homeschoolers we knew. More than any other topic we can think of, the families we knew (and respected) were all over the map on this one.

Approaches ranged from an absolute ban on reading any sort of fantasy to those who couldn’t see any problem whatsoever with the genre. Our view was somewhere in the middle. We made a judgment call and will share some of our considerations, but we would like to emphasize that each child and his surroundings need to be taken into account. Unlike certain questions, such as whether a child should call a parent by his first name where the answer is clear cut (absolutely not!), this question has a lot of room for knowing an individual child, the specific book, subjectivity and praying for Godly wisdom.

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Dating during divorce process

February 7th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 26 comments

I am a 29 year old woman and I am currently going through a divorce. I did not initiate the divorce and I did my best to be a faithful and good wife to my husband despite his unfaithfulness, lack of financial provision and other issues. 

The one thing I want most out of life is to be a wife and mother. My question is: is it ok to date while the divorce is still pending? I was living in the US with my husband but since the divorce I have moved back to my home country (the United Kingdom). 

I am a Christian but would be interested to hear your point of view on this.

Hannah

Dear Hannah,

It sounds like you have been through a number of very difficult and disappointing years. We pray that the future holds much happiness and fulfillment for you as a wife and mother.  If you handle things correctly from here on and God blesses you, there is every chance of the good life awaiting you up ahead.

For people of faith, marriage is entered into by engaging in two separate processes.  One is obtaining a civil marriage, according to the laws of one’s country. The other is spiritual; more of a covenant that includes God in the new relationship.  We usually think of it as the religious ceremony  in contrast to the civil contract.

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