Summer Camp

From: Aviva Dear Rabbi, I have been appointed “activities director” of my shul’s summer camp. I’m supposed to come up with a theme for the camp which will fuse exciting activities with Jewish content. So, I was wondering if perhaps you had some ideas for a camp, or maybe just some approach one could use[…]

Conversion Controversy

From: Britney Dear Rabbi, I and many other non-religious Jews are very upset about the intolerant position of Orthodoxy against non-Orthodox conversions. Who are the rabbis to decide what conversion is kosher or not? And shouldn’t they be interested in maintaining the unity of the Jewish People rather than causing divisiveness? Anyway, many converts are[…]

Tammuz, Av and the Zodiac

This is a continuation of: Tammuz, Av and Divine Names From: Rodney Dear Rabbi, Since the months with holidays are considered “good months”, are the months of Tammuz and Av considered “bad months”, since they have days that commemorate the destruction of the Temple? Dear Rodney, In the previous installment, we explored the permutations of[…]

Tammuz, Av and Divine Names

From: Rodney Dear Rabbi, Since the months with holidays are considered “good months”, are the months of Tammuz and Av considered “bad months”, since they have days that commemorate the destruction of the Temple? Dear Rodney, Since you ask about multiple months, and since there is a lot to discuss, and since the discussion is[…]

Befit to Bless

From: Dennis Dear Rabbi, In our shul, there are kohanim who I am sure are not observant and who even transgress in public. I am wondering if they are allowed to perform the priestly blessing for the community, or if their blessing might be a curse, G‑d forbid. Dear Dennis, This question should rightly be[…]

Karet

From: Misha Dear Rabbi, Would you please explain the Torah punishment of “karet”? Dear Misha, The word karet means to be “cut off”. According to the classic Torah commentator Rabbeinu Bachya, Rabbi Bachya ben Asher ibn Halawa 1255-1340 (not to be confused with R’ Bachya ben Joseph ibn Paquda, author of Duties of the Heart,[…]

Blessing over Bad

From: Gil Dear Rabbi, I recently came across the concept of blessing G‑d over bad things that happen to a person just as one would do for good things that happen. What does this mean? Dear Gil, The concept you are referring to is based on a teaching of the Sages which states (Berachot 60a),[…]