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All Questions Answered by
Rabbi Zeev Smason (Emeritus)

Question: For many years I have stayed up most of the night. I am concerned that this is a sin against G-d. If i worked on it I could sleep at night like other people and be more active during the day. I wonder about this - what does Jewish tradition or law say about this?
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Question: I am on the personnel committee of a small synagogue. We recently heard that our rabbi may have taken financial advantage of someone he met through employment at another synagogue. We feel he has violated his covenant with us by financially obligating our synagogue in a contract that we cannot afford. He refuses to acknowledge his part in this unfortunate situation. Can you point us towards ways that we can confront him that will be within the bounds of Jewish tradition/law? On many levels he is a good man, but this behavior has really upset our committee and the few other congregants who are aware of the situation. We are afraid that this will cause a rift in our congregation if not handled in a just manner.
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Question: In the Torah, God promises prosperity if we keep the Torah and destruction if we violate it. But how can we still believe that, when we’ve seen over the centuries that our actions and our reward or punishment don’t always correlate?
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Question: I am a Catholic. I love the "whoever saves a life saves the world" passage. My daughter is a health care professional and saves many lives. Is it disrespectful for me to use [a quote of] that passage on a gift to her?
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Question: When I was young, I was abused by my father. My mother, who knew, did nothing. Must I still honor them?
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Question: Our Orthodox Jewish neighbor always knocks on our door during their sabbath to turn on lights, turn off things. This happens every weekend and it is driving us nuts. We live in a Condo and they live below us. What is the Jewish view on this use of someone as a 'Shabbos Goy'? Is this ethical and in line with Jewish values?
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Question: Can we (those of us who feel support for it) feel justified with our sense that Netanyahu was correct in his decision to finally cut privileges of jailed Hamas militants in response to the Palestinian Islamist movement's refusal to allow Red Cross visits to Gilad Shalit for over 5 years? What does Judaism say about this?
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Question: Naama Shafir, an Orthodox Jew, has recently gained stardom by scoring 40 points to lead the University of Toledo to victory in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament championship, a game that took place on Shabbat. She was crowned the basketball tournament’s MVP. After the game, she walked about two miles home, and did not take part in any interviews. Would it be fair to say that Naama is a great role model to all girls in general, because she is pursuing her dreams, while holding steadfast to her Jewish values and commitment to religion? Or is there a problem with her actions because she apparently violated the Sabbath restrictions by playing? How should we view what she did?
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Question: What is the position of Judaism on the reaction to Osama Bin Laden's death? It's so complicated, a murder for justice. I'm not sure if it is correct to be glad or not about it. Is it really justice? Is there justification for this in or beyond Jewish values?
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Question: How can we theologically understand weather disasters - from hurricanes and earthquakes to deadly blizzards and droughts?
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LATEST BLOGS  view all blog entries

The Jewish View of Life After Death

Posted on 03/26/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Reviews
When I was just starting to learn about Judaism as an adult, I took a 3-week course called “The Jewish View of Life...

When Someone You Know Has a Disabled Child

Posted on 03/24/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
It's not uncommon to be uncomfortable around people with disabilities. Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer opens her recent ELI Talk...

Is Eating Meat A Jewish Thing To Do?

Posted on 03/22/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
After watching a series of documentaries about the negative health consequences of a meat-heavy diet, I gave up eating meat...

Are Jews of Color Really Jews?

Posted on 03/17/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
In a brand new ELI Talks video, social activist MaNishtana talks about the necessity for Jews to examine their attitudes...

On Separation

Posted on 03/13/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Reviews
One of the special pleasures of Purim in my community is that I can fulfill the requirement to listen to the Megillah read...

Who’s That Knocking At My Door? A Jewish Dilemma

Posted on 03/01/2017 by Rivkah Lambert Adler in Beliefs and Practices
If you live outside an Orthodox community, you may not be aware of how, in many (most? all?) Orthodox communities, people go...
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