Theater in Judaism

From: Ian Dear Rabbi, It seems to me that in addition to literature in the form of instructive stories, there is a fair representation of music and other artistic forms mentioned in the Torah, and applied in the service of G‑d in the Temple, and on other occasions. But it strikes me that theater doesn’t[…]

Valuable Lesson

From: Ryan Dear Rabbi, How important is it to clean up after oneself, particularly when someone else is paid to clean up after others, like in a restaurant or park? Dear Ryan, The Torah places great emphasis on both spiritual and material cleanliness. Material cleanliness includes preserving the environment and ensuring it remains as clean[…]

What’s in a Beard?

From: John Dear Rabbi, Why do Jews, or at least religious Jews, have beards and not shave? Someone told me it was in order to get blessing. Is this the reason? Dear John, It is true that Jewish mystical sources discuss the beard in the context of blessing – either being a source of blessing[…]

Dishonesty and Non-Jews

From: Misha Dear Rabbi, Is it permissible to be dishonest with a non-Jew? Might there be a difference between outright lying as opposed to withholding the truth? Is there any difference between a non-Jewish monotheist as opposed to an idolater? Dear Misha, It is forbidden to be dishonest with anybody, directly or indirectly, Jew or[…]

Orphans’ Joy

From: Anonymous Dear Rabbi, There is an organization in our community that collects money for orphans or children from broken families for the purpose of helping pay wedding costs. I don’t think anyone would deny that this is a good thing, but the weddings this organization provides for are, in my opinion, overly-lavish – often[…]

Friendly Foible

From: Terry Dear Rabbi, I am a friendly and outgoing person. I get along very well with most people. It’s natural for me. I have a friend who’s upset about that. She says it’s not right that I get all of the attention. She asked me to be less outgoing, to be more “modest” as[…]

Lay Apparel

From: Gamliel Dear Rabbi, I was told that the coat worn by Litvish rabbis is called a “kapote”. Is there any difference between those worn by Litvaks, and those worn by Chasidim – e.g., Lubavitch, Satmar, Ger – on weekdays? While I often see lay-Chasidim wearing long coats, I’ve rarely come across any pictures of[…]

Snoopy Snooze

From: Name Withheld Dear Rabbi, We are a Jewish couple with a two-and-a-half year old “chewish” dog that is our only “child.” She is very clean, very lovable and pretty well-behaved. My wife wants her to sleep in our room every night with us. I don’t think it’s appropriate. I think the bedroom should be[…]