Posts tagged " Torah "

Good Gracious, You’re Pregnant!

October 9th, 2017 Posted by Thought Tools 7 comments

“Just five more minutes,” “One more chapter,” “I guess I can stay a little longer.” The temptation to stretch out an enjoyable activity just a little bit more is one to which we can all relate.

After a month of reveling in God’s closeness, culminating with the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the Jewish people felt the same way. In response, God granted them an extra holy day, Simhat Torah, that begins as Sukkot ebbs away (starting this year Wednesday night, Oct. 11). Literally translated as “The Joy of the Torah,” it is on this day that we conclude and begin anew the annual cycle of reading the Five Books of Moses.

That makes this week a particularly apt time to highlight the idea that the first time in Genesis that a specific letter is used to start a word, that word provides a key to the inner meaning of that initial letter.

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How do I raise my son in the ways of the Bible?

August 1st, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

I am a Christian who lives in Indonesia. I am a frequent listener of your podcast and blessed to find tremendous wisdom in your teaching. I am keen to learn about the root of my faith from Hebrew Bible, at which I believe, as you believe, as a God-given blueprint for our life.

As a recent father, it is my desire to show my child the way of the Lord. Thus, I have a question; what is the best way to teach Torah to our children (especially toddler to under 12 years of age). What is the best method/technique to convey the narrative to them while at the same time conveying the wisdom/substance (which some stories I find them may not be suitable for children. I want to learn from your perspective as rabbi and Jewish parents on how to impart your wisdom to your children.

Thank you and God bless,

∼ Nugroho H.

Dear Nugroho,

Congratulations on the new blessing and challenge in your life. You are asking a wonderful question. Wouldn’t it be nice if for $99 you could purchase a curriculum that would guarantee that your children will view the Bible the way you do? Of course, no such program exists.  (more…)

Do orthodox Jews interpret the Bible literally?

June 17th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

My pastor tells me that, “The most orthodox view historically seems to be not a literal interpretation,” with the creation story in Genesis 1-3.

Would you agree with this? Are there other passages in the Torah like this? Are their hints in the Hebrew that suggest something to be non-literal?  ∼ Jarred

Answer:

Dear Jarred,

A few days ago, Jews celebrated the festival of Shavuot, known in English as Pentecost. Shavuot falls during the Hebrew month of Sivan, whose sign is twins. (General culture adapted this idea turning it into the zodiac sign of Gemini.)

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Is God just?

March 16th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I have a friend in his mid 50’s who has come to Christianity in the last 12 years, He has a hard time resolving how God treated certain people groups in the Five Books of Moses and the Prophets Bible that were destroyed or killed by God’s command.I have tried talking to him about the sovereignty of God and the Protection of God’s people, but he still struggles with it.

He believes God was unjust. A new perspective from you would help greatly. 

Thanks,

∼ Robert W.

Answer:

Dear Robert,

Why go so far back? Isn’t it unjust when a baby is born with a painful disability or when some are born into free and wealthy countries while others are born to areas where repression and starvation threaten? We understand that your friend might try to distinguish between God commanding that the enemies of Israel be killed and innocent children suffering and dying.  However, there really is not much of a difference is there? Nothing happens without His say so.  After all, for an omnipotent God, commanding something very visibly is not that much different from invisibly directing that a particular child should suffer. Is your friend fine with what he sees around him today?

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Is praying in a group better than praying alone?

January 7th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

What does the Bible say about group prayer?
Is it more powerful than individual prayer?

∼ Kenda S.

Answer:

Dear Kenda,

You are asking a question that may be particularly apt for our times when technology allows us to access other people without having to leave our homes. Many church services are accessible online and you can easily bring church to you rather than going to a building.

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Do you believe in magic?

December 17th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I have been following your newsletter for some time now, have purchased some of your materials and most recently have been listening to your podcasts on SoundCloud. I have many questions yet to be answered as I continue my journey of faith. I enjoy your teachings and am thankful God led me to you.

A question came to mind as I was listening to your podcast titled, Do You Believe In Magic? Do You Know Why Things Fell Apart in the 60s? Deuteronomy 18:10 says not to perform acts of magic. In your podcast you spoke of your research and practice of magic tricks. It did seem harmless and provided an excellent stage for the podcast, however, I couldn’t help but ask myself if this is  contrary to Deuteronomy 18:10.

Thank you and blessings!

∼ Devin L.

Answer:

Dear Devin,

We have received quite a few comments over the years about our occasional use of the word magic, so we appreciate the opportunity to explain. Deuteronomy 18:10-11 uses seven different languages describing negative spiritual interactions that are an abomination to God. These include things such as contacting the dead and accessing ghosts.

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Money & Marriage Maketh Man

November 25th, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

Try persuading today’s university students that making money is both dignified and moral. That’s what I did last week when I addressed 13,000 students at the Liberty University Convocation in Virginia. I not only told them that making money was a virtuous activity but I proved it. And they whooped, hollered and cheered. But remember, this was not Dartmouth, Yale or University of Missouri. There’s hope for America down there in Lynchburg.

My dear friend, the late Jerry Falwell, founded Liberty University in 1971. It is a beautiful campus populated by God-fearing young scholars who play as hard as they pray. Their Flames football team competes successfully in division 1 of the NCAA in the Big South Conference. (more…)

Are there Jews everywhere?

November 12th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I understand that God warned in Deuteronomy 28 that He would disperse the Jews throughout the world “from one end of the earth to the other”. Did this happen?
Are Jews in every country; for example Chile? Iceland? Korea? South Africa? How far were they dispersed?

∼ Kate S.

Answer:

Dear Kate,

Chile – yes; Iceland -yes; Korea – yes; South Africa -yes. It is quite difficult to find a populated area that does not have resident Jews or where Jews haven’t historically been a presence. There are countries where Jews lived before being expelled (returning to some later, like England and Spain) and others, such as Syria, that Jews fled relatively recently because of persecution after thousands of years of maintaining an intact religious community.

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Is smoking cigarettes a sin?

November 4th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 14 comments

Question:

Many years ago, you could go to church and might notice the large numbers of cigarette butts in the parking lots. Today, in most Christian circles, smoking and use of tobacco is said to be sin. 

I have searched the Bible for an answer and clarification to the question about tobacco use. Is there anything in the Old Testament to clarify the question, “Is tobacco use sin or is it just an unhealthy habit?”

 Thank you for your ever thoughtful answers and insight you share weekly. And may the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you.

∼ Linda O.

Answer:

Dear Linda,

Your observation about church parking lots is apt and your question is a good one for all Bible-believing religious people to ask; we know it is much discussed in Orthodox Jewish circles.   We’d like to start our answer by asking, “What is a sin?”

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Is Judaism defined by one’s mother or father?

July 8th, 2015 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

In the Bible, genealogies are stated mostly in terms of fathers and sons. Yet, in speaking to contemporary Jews, I am told that the determination of whether one is a Jew or not depends upon the mother’s lineage and faith.
 
Is that the Biblical standard or was that changed over time?

∼ Christopher J.

Answer:

Dear Christopher,

The Hebrew word for parents is ‘HoRiM.’  The ‘iM’ at the end denotes a plural word. There is no singular noun for ‘parent.’  Mother, yes. Father, yes. Parenthood, however, takes teamwork. Knowing this fact benefits everyone.

It encourages individuals to marry before having children and lets them know that they are depriving their children if they do otherwise. If a tragedy occurs and one of the parents is no longer alive or available to the child, then acknowledging that parenthood is a two person-two gender job allows the extended family and community to know that assistance is needed. Pretending that any and every family is equally desirable pretends to help children, while really it harms them.

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