Birthday Maze

From: Anna Dear Rabbi, My friend and I have the same birthday. If our birthdays are the same, why are the Hebrew dates for our birthdays different? Her Hebrew birthday is after mine. Dear Anna, If you and your friend had literally been born on the same day, you would both celebrate your birthdays, secular[…]

Sandek

From: Marshall Dear Rabbi, I found your recent article on the Brit Milah ceremony very informative and interesting. There you mention the role of the “sandek”. Could you please elaborate on the meaning of that word, the source for the honor, who the honor is given to, and what is its significance? Dear Marshall, As[…]

Brit Milah Ceremony

From: Patricia Dear Rabbi, My daughter converted to Orthodox Judaism and married a Jewish man. They are expecting to have a boy, which of course will mean circumcising the baby according to Jewish practice. As gentiles, we would like to know what to expect about the ceremony in order to 1. Avoid as much as[…]

Rest in Peace

From: Joseph Dear Rabbi, What is the source and significance of erecting a tombstone and what purpose does it fulfill for the deceased? Dear Joseph, One source in the Torah for erecting a tombstone over the grave is found regarding the death and burial of Rachel: “So Rachel died, and she was buried on the[…]

Life Before Death

From: Andrew Dear Rabbi, My uncle recently passed away after a prolonged illness and many of those who were close to him who accompanied him throughout his illness, hospice and death noticed an elevated, spiritual “feeling” that surrounded him which strangely seemed to increase as he got more and more sick. Another thing we noticed[…]

Rewarding Bad Behavior

From: Aaron Dear Rabbi, One of my sons, he’s 8, is really a source of tension at home. His behavior is totally unacceptable. And what’s worse, no matter how I punish him, it doesn’t help. He gets this rebellious spirit that won’t break. My wife and I are very disturbed by this, and are losing[…]

It’s a Girl!

From: Sarah Dear Rabbi, Thank G‑d, my husband and I are expecting our first child. I don’t mind if it’s a boy or a girl, but I have a feeling that my husband wants a boy, and so too with our families. Is there any basis in Judaism for this preference? I’ll be happy with[…]

Sick Visit

From: Dina Dear Rabbi, What is the meaning of the mitzva of visiting the sick. Is it just to pay attention to the ill person, or does it have any curative effect on the person as well? Dear Dina, Visiting the sick is a specific form of doing chesed (acts of loving-kindness) with our fellow[…]

Rest in Peace

From: Manny Dear Rabbi, My parents passed away several years ago. For some reason, I can’t get myself to part from their house and belongings. My wife says I’ve made a museum of them and that it isn’t right, but she can’t articulate why. Can you help me understand what’s going on here and what[…]