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The Tsunami Tragedy

There is no doubt that we have witnessed this past week a massive natural disaster. We call this an “Act of God”. Was it? The world simply shifted a bit. That’s what the earth’s crust does. It has been doing it for eons. That was how it was designed, to expand and contract. Just as the universe has bits and…

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Cutting through the Confusion about Shechita

Although it has been several weeks since the gruesome videos taken inside the AgriProcessors abattoir were released, the controversy continues. The videos were taken surreptitiously by a PETA volunteer employed at the plant, and can be viewed at PETA’s website. While PETA clearly has it’s own agenda, no one has denied that the scenes on the videos are real. They…

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Thinking About Doing It

Question:Given that many young Orthodox men and women are having sex before marriage and still remain Orthodox, how do you, as a rabbi, deal with the issue? Answer:Clearly, a Torah response to premarital sex is to get married early or to exercise control. Yet all educators know that human beings are built differently, respond differently. Just as some are rationalists…

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Blended Scotch whisky–a kosher vice?

There has been an increased interest in whisky in recent years, and with it a lot of confusion about the halachic permissibility of drinking blended Scotch. The issue involves the old sherry casks in which it is sometimes aged. Since this non-Jewish sherry would be forbidden to drink, some say the whisky is also forbidden. However, when I was a…

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Do non-Jews have souls?

A recent exchange from JROD: QUESTION:  Jeremy, I’ve always been uncomfortable with the notion of Jews having a “higher” level of Neshama than non-Jews. I was wondering what variety of opinions we have on this in our tradition and, in fact, how a neshama is defined. RESPONSE:  Hey this is heavy duty stuff and an excellent example of an issue…

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Money only talks to those who listen!

Judaism has never advocated poverty nor recommended it as a spiritually uplifting experience. Indeed, the Talmud describes the feeling of poverty as akin to death. Nor has it ever suggested that “money is the root of all evil” or that “it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than a camel can pass through the…

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