Covenant of Salt-
I see the Torah occasionally refers to covenants of salt – such as the covenant of priesthood with Aaron’s descendants and of sovereignty with King David’s family. Why is salt mentioned? What is its...More
Creation & The Big Bang-
I have trouble reconciling my reading of Genesis with current scientific theory. When I read the beginning of creation, is seems clear that God created the world complete, as well as the rest of the...More
How God Created-
I understand that God does not have a physical being, but only a spiritual being. What I don't understand is how any entity without any physical being can be responsible for the creation of the planet...More
Adam’s Sin and the Decree of Death-
The Torah states that on the day Adam would eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Yet although he was punished when he sinned, he didn’t die on that day, but lived...More
Choosing Good Over Evil-
For a long time it has bothered me what the Torah means by: "God created man in His image" (Genesis 1:27). Given that human beings are finite and corporal, how are we created in God's image?
Eve's Creation: Rib or Side?-
Exactly what was Eve created from? I always assumed it was one of Adam’s ribs, but I just noticed a translation which said “side.” So which is right?
By the way, if Eve was created from a rib God...More
Meat After the Flood-
Why was man permitted to eat meat after the Flood (Genesis 9:2-3)? Does the fact that at his creation man was not allowed to eat meat indicate that this is the ideal state of man? But if so, what changed...More
There are obviously many ways by which God could have saved Noah. Why did Noah have to bother building an ark? And why did it take him 120 years?More
Noah: Fixing Mistakes-
If the generation of Noah was so corrupt, then why didn’t God just punish the people outright? Why the whole story of Noah building an ark?
Abraham & Independence-
I notice that the first “command” given to the first Jew, Abraham, is to "Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you." (Genesis...More
Avraham Serving the Angels-
In Genesis 18:8, three angels appear to Abraham. It says that Abraham served them milk and a calf. I realize that the laws of kashrut prohibiting mixtures of milk and meat were not given until 500 years...More
Cain and Abel: Anger At Others-
The story of Cain and Abel always intrigued me. But I never understood what they were fighting about. The text doesn’t really say. Can you shed some light for me?
Isaac & Finding the Perfect Partner-
I’m 30 years old and finding that most of my friends who have gotten married are soon after divorced. I would like to get married but am afraid of marrying the wrong person. Any guidelines to suggest?
Jacob - Disciplining With Love-
I have three kids and when they misbehave I want to discipline them. But sometimes I feel like that would be harming their self-esteem. What does the Torah say about disciplining with love?
As Great as Moses-
All my friends seem to be talented and smart. I'm just kind of average. I try really hard, but can't seem to ever reach a level of excellence. It's getting me worried about my future. What should I do?More
My friend and I are having a disagreement about degrees of righteousness in God's eyes. Who is greater: One who is virtuous by inclination, or one who is virtuous by choice - i.e. one who must struggle...More
Moses: No Entry into Israel-
Deuteronomy 3:23 speaks about Moses imploring, begging and pleading with God to allow him to enter the Land of Israel. But God says “no.” Why can't Moses go with the people into the Land of Israel?
Exodus - Blood on the Doorpost-
The Torah describes (Exodus 12:6-7) how each Hebrew family designates a lamb, and sets it aside. On the evening of the Israelites' deliverance from slavery in Egypt, they slaughter the lamb, roast and eat...More
Four Cups: Verses-
We are constantly made aware of the importance of the four cups of wine and the obligation to drink them at the Seder. Yet no mention is made in the Torah of the four cups, nor do we recite the verses...More
Go For It-
I'm turning 40 this year. I feel like life is passing me by. When opportunities present themselves, I hesitate, and then it's too late. I don't want to be looking back 10 years from now and feeling regret...More
I am perplexed about a certain juxtaposition in the Torah. Parshas Yisro describes the dramatic revelation of God to the Jewish People at Mount Sinai. And then the next parsha, Mishpatim, lists mundane...More
If the Jews had just witnessed God's awesome power in the 10 Plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea, and the revelation at Mount Sinai, how could these same people turn around and worship a Golden Calf?!More
I am taking an art appreciation class and we recently studied Michelangelo's statue of Moses, which is adorned with horns. This has anti-Semitic overtones and I am wondering where this idea got started?More
Before Purim, the rabbi put out a plate and told everyone to give a half-shekel (or its local equivalent). I understand this was done in the times of the Tempe to purchase public offerings. But what is...More
Shofar Blasts in Month of Elul-
I recently heard a lecture where the speaker, discussing recent events in Israel and the Middle East, mentioned in passing that these events are befitting the Jewish month of Elul. Although many listeners...More
The Complaint Syndrome-
I have a problem with complaining. I always seem to be “looking sideways,” checking out what other people have and wondering why I can’t have it, too. This distracts me from moving ahead with my own...More
Animal Offerings Today-
I was reading the Book of Leviticus and this got me wondering: Why don't Jews bring animal offerings today? I know there is no Holy Temple in Jerusalem, but does that prevent any offerings from being...More
I am a bit shocked by the Bible's emphasis on animal offerings. It seems quite violent and inhumane. Is that really what Judaism teaches?More
Kohen Higher Status-
My mother is Jewish and my father is not. I have been told that I am 100% Jewish, yet at the same time I may not marry a Kohen. It bothers me that I am penalized for something I have no control over. What...More
Jewish Census - "Members of the Tribe"-
Immediately after giving the Ten Commandments, God tells the Jewish people to organize themselves by tribe and take a census. (That's why the fourth book of the Bible is called "Numbers.")
I was reading the Book of Numbers, chapter 19, which describes the Red Heifer. The whole thing seems quite mysterious. Can you explain?
Samson – Contact with Dead-
I’m trying to understand something. Shimshon (Samson) was a nazir (Nazarite), which is why he didn’t cut his hair or drink wine. But isn’t one of the restrictions of a Nazarite not to come in contact with...More
Eishet Yefat To’ar – Woman Captured in War-
I find Deuteronomy 21:10-14 to be quite shocking. How can the Torah permit soldiers raping and capturing women in battle and keeping them against their will? It seems so inconsistent with so much else the...More
Firstborn (Bechor) Privileges-
I’ve been studying Deuteronomy with my children and was at a loss to explain why the firstborn receives a double portion of the inheritance (21:17). What is the basis for this?More
Ancient versus Modern Hebrew Script-
It’s known that the ancient Israelites wrote in a totally different script of Hebrew than the one used today. Wouldn’t the earlier one have been the original script of Hebrew – the one the Torah was given...More
Completing a Book of the Torah-
I am a lay leader at my temple. Since our rabbi is away, I will be leading this week’s Shabbat service. I have beginner-intermediate skills for chanting Torah. Your pasha page was very helpful....More
Double Torah Portion-
I enjoy attending synagogue every Shabbat morning. When it comes to the weekly Torah reading, sometimes we read two parshas. Why is that?