Mousetrap

From: Mark Dear Rabbi, Would you please clarify if and under what circumstances one may kill insects or pests. On the one hand, it would seem that one should be able to do so. On the other hand, since these are G‑d’s creations, how can we justify taking life He’s given?   Dear Mark, This is[…]

A Life for a Life

Based on a real-life correspondence published with permission from the questioner. From: Jonathan in MA Dear Rabbi, My mom suffers from diabetes and it has now destroyed her kidneys. The tests have been done and I am an excellent match to donate my kidney to her, but someone told me that it was against the[…]

Malady or Medicine

From: Jennie Dear Rabbi, What is the Torah’s position on healing? Since everything is from G‑d, do sickness and ailments have to be suffered because that’s G‑d’s will? Or can we try to cure the maladies sent by G‑d? If so, doesn’t that undermine His intentions? Dear Jennie, According to Judaism, everything that happens, whether[…]

Dance, Dance, Dance

From: Orna in Toronto Dear Rabbi, Before I became religious I used to love dance very much. As I spent several years trying to catch up on Jewish learning and then became involved in shidduchim and marriage, I didn’t find an opportunity to pursue dance within the religious community. Now that I’m married and with[…]

Fasting

From: David Rose in Calgary Dear Rabbi, I practice Chinese medicine which includes fasting as one of the many methods of healing. I am wondering what the Jewish perspective on fasting is. Thank you. Dear David, Judaism posits that spiritual forces are at the root of everything physical. On a cosmic scale, this means that[…]

The Healing Serpent

From: Yehudah Silver Dear Rabbi, I’d like to know if there are any Jewish origins to the symbol of a single snake wrapped around a single staff being used as a medical symbol. Although this is usually attributed to Greek gods, I’m wondering if they just copied something from us. I’m thinking of the event[…]

Environmental Preservation

From: Liron in L.A. Dear Rabbi, Doesn’t the verse, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it; have dominion over…every living thing” (Genesis 1:28) seem to teach disrespect and egocentric insensitivity to the environment. What is Judaism’s attitude to environmental issues? Dear Liron, The idea you suggest was promoted by Arnold Toynbee[…]

Vegetarianism

From: Joy Dear Rabbi, I’d like to know if and why vegetarianism may be a positive ethical choice for an observant Jew. Even if eating meat is permitted, could it be morally better to abstain? Dear Joy, G-d initially intended that people be vegetarians: “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face[…]

Depression

From: J. Schwartz Dear Rabbi, What’s G‑d’s “take” on depression and what’s the Torah’s “take” on it as well? Thanks. Dear J. Schwartz, First, G‑d’s and the Torah’s “take” are one and the same. In general, when speaking of depression we must distinguish between depression caused by a medical condition, and that which is caused[…]