Torah

Genocide

Dear Rabbi and Susan, In the process of working through my five Fs, I’ve been reading the Bible with a group of friends. One of the things I find disturbing is the genocide in the Torah. Can you help me with the concept of conquering a people and killing every man, woman, and child? Fred...

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Keeping the Sabbath

Dear Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin. I hope you are well. I have a question regarding something that has been ‘on my mind’ for some time and that is ‘what should non-Jews do in regard to observing the Sabbath?’ I was brought up as a Catholic by my parents and so became familiar with the...

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V is for Vigilante

Charles Bronson starred in the 1974 classic film, Death Wish. Playing Paul Kersey, a New York architect whose family was brutalized by murderous thugs, Bronson goes on a vigilante rampage. I saw this movie in a Manhattan theater in 1975 and as a newly arrived tourist, I was astonished to see that every time Bronson...

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Classical Music

I am a classical musician, who is highly trained as a violinist, and I run a music school for children. I see music as a spiritual language that unites people. Unfortunately, classical music is not appreciated, and nor is it understood by many people. It is often viewed as elitist and out of touch. What...

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Passover’s 15-Step Program

Countless people will soon be observing a Passover Seder. There are many important aspects to running an effective Seder, but perhaps the most important and the least known is that the Seder, meaning order, is an arrangement of fifteen indispensable steps from start to finish. In order to explain this to you, I must first explain the...

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Coeducation or Single-Sex Schools?

Dear Rabbi and Susan, Co-education, meaning girls and boys taught together in one school depends on societies. I think that it is useful educationally because boys will be more serious because girls in the general like to be serious. The girls’ devotion to studying inspires the boys. Also it helps more cooperation and understanding among...

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Squiggles and Lines in my Bible

To my astonishment, I have discovered that I am beginning to recognize Hebrew letters after watching your Scrolling through Scripture courses. I have also purchased your recommended Bible. Looking at both the Bible and the course is confusing me a bit. Tim Dear Tim, We are delighted that you are beginning to feel a little...

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Cleaning – and Loving It

I have a friend who gets little pleasure from cooking. It is a reality of life for her rather than a tactile, sensual experience. That is, unless she is cooking for the Sabbath. When she does that, the activity is infused with meaning and importance and changes from an annoying necessity into a higher calling....

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Good Gracious You’re Pregnant

“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...

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Bible Codes – Real or Rubbish?

Hidden codes embedded in Scripture!  Bible codes predict terrorist attacks!  Sensationalistic headlines like these have been seen for years.  Melodramatic books with extravagant claims appeared in the mid-1990s often written by authors with little Hebrew knowledge. So frequently am I asked about this that I’m devoting this Thought Tool to the topic.  While in yeshiva,...

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