Feminine Beauty

From: Paula Dear Rabbi, According to Judaism, is physical beauty a quality to be valued for women, or is the main thing to be righteous? If it’s righteousness that is to be valued, then why does the Torah praise Sarah for her beauty? Dear Paula, One of the well-known verses of the chapter of Proverbs,[…]

The Holy Writ

From: Vicky Dear Rabbi, As we approach the holiday of Shavuot commemorating the receiving of the Torah, would you please explain how and when the first Torah scroll was actually written? Dear Vicky, The Talmudic Sages (Gittin 60a) actually differ about this point. In the view of one opinion, the Torah was written on separate[…]

Mother’s Day

From: Michael Dear Rabbi, Mother’s Day is coming up and I’m wondering if there’s any Jewish basis for celebrating the day in the customary fashion. Or maybe the way Mother’s Day is celebrated is not the Jewish way. Dear Michael, First, let’s briefly explore the history of the modern holiday of Mother’s Day. It was[…]

Water Quality

From: Natan Dear Rabbi, I am a bit bewildered about the “quality” of water. Sometimes it’s associated with base passion or indulgence. Yet it is also very widely associated with the Torah. What is the resolution of this seeming contradiction? Dear Natan, You are right; water is described as having both qualities. Water is often[…]

Wining, Dining, and Reclining

From: Russell Dear Rabbi, Would you please discuss the mitzvah of reclining at the Seder meal? Dear Russell, While partaking of the four cups of wine, and the matza at the beginning of the meal, and the korech “sandwich” (of matza, maror, and charoset), and the afikomen matza at the end of the meal, one must do so in a reclining position. This may[…]

Inclusive-Exclusive

From: Pablo Dear Rabbi, What is the Jewish approach to including non-observant Jewish people in the ritual or practice of the Jewish religion? Dear Pablo, This is a very intriguing and somewhat intricate question, which I’ll only be able to address in general terms within this venue. In a nutshell, the basic spirit of Judaism[…]

Feminist Purim

From: Rivi Dear Rabbi, Am I correct in noticing that Purim features the role of a woman, Esther, as heroine more so than other Jewish holidays? If so, why might this be and what is the message? Dear Rivi, Purim is not the only holiday which features a female protagonist. The holiday of Pesach which[…]

Torah Time-out

From: Anthony Dear Rabbi, We are taught how important it is to study Torah constantly. That the entire world rests upon those who learn Torah. So how is it possible to ever take time off from learning in order to do other important things in life like being with family, staying healthy, seeing G‑d’s world,[…]