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Showing Questions in 'Understanding Judaism'

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Question No. 874
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 7 Jul 2005
The Question Is it accurate to say that the Torah (obviously not the written form) was in existence forever? —Anonymous, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 777
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 26 Apr 2005
The Question For about seven years I have been putting this off, but I would like to go through an Orthodox conversion. I can't call myself a goy, but surely can't call myself a Jew halachaly speaking (my mother isn't Jewish - although there may be evidence on having some Jewish blood on that side of my family, but she's Christian as well as her parents). Besides this persistant "drive" in me to become/live Jewish, when I look back at events and circumstances surrounding my life they all seem to point me in this direction. My non-observant Jewish friends think I'm nuts! I am NOT a secret Christian seeking to "convert" Jews either. But obviously with my upbringing I have a predisposition in believing in who the Mashiach is, but I stay out of the debate because to me it's not a deciding factor on whether to be Jewish or not - I'll base that belief on reason and revelation from study & midrash. Anyway (1) What are the steps in an Orthodox conversion for both men & women (my wife)? (2)What problems/obsticles/issues do you forsee in my conversion? (3) Would you support my decision? (4) If so, and because it is very important to me, where can I find a Tzaddik Rabbi to welcome me, give me love and guidance through the process? Thank you, Eli D. —Anonymous, Los Angeles, CA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 706
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 28 Feb 2005
The Question BS"D Question #1) What is the hashkofoh behind wearing tefillin? What is their significance? Question 2) Why should a Jew wear tzitzis (other than the obvious reason: because Hashem said so)? —Anonymous, Chutz Laaretz
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 667
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 17 Jan 2005
The Question Dear Rabbi, I am a middle of the road, young orthodox Jew. I try to learn when possible and am blessed with the ability to see and appreciate H in everything that I do. I am a university student and due to exam stresses over Shabbat I read some of my revision notes instead of enjoying the Sabbath to the full. Since then I have been losing things, firstly those revision notes went missing, and then my glasses, all from places where they could not have gone missing. I know it sounds silly but I believe that H is trying to direct me, or at least illustrate a point. I truly regret wasting my Shabbat, and will try as hard as possible not to get into that situation again. Am I crazy or is H sending me a message? Many thanks for taking the time to answer my question, I really enjoy listening to your answers. —David, Leeds, UK
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 633
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 27 Dec 2004
The Question What is the exstent of bitachon? do i have to trust that hashem will ensure that somone else will recieve something is taking an active role to ensure that the thingis delived to the person a lack of my betachon —Anonymous, Jerusalem
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 607
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 5 Dec 2004
The Question What is Judaism? —Blathnaid, County Offaly, Ireland
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 596
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 29 Nov 2004
The Question What does the Rav hold on Eliezer Bberkovits' book "Essential Essays on Judaism"? — Anonymous, Telzstone
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 562
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 28 Nov 2004
The Question Can you explain what Shabbat is? —Jessica, Wales
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 524
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted 14 Nov 2004
The Question Why is the torah important? Anonmyous, Florida
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 238
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question Hello and G-d bless you, Im not Jewish, but I am trying to understand the Jewish faith as best I can. Recently, I was speaking to a Roman Catholic who claims their doctrine of purgatory, as they understand it, is also believed in Judaism as well. Ive done some research and found very limited passages in the Talmud regarding a purgatorial state, yet Im not sure if the Roman Catholic view and the Jewish view truly do agree. Roman Catholicism teaches that those that die with mortal sin will go into eternal punishment (Hell, Gehenna); those who die with lesser sins (venial) will go to purgatory where they will suffer indefinitely until they are purified from the stains of sin; finally, those who die in a state of grace will go to heaven. They also claim that the Kaddish is an example of prayer for the dead, but from what I understand, it isnt a prayer for the dead, but rather, the Kaddish is a prayer acknowledging G-ds sovereignty and has more to do with the mourner than for the deceased. From what I understand regarding the Jewish view, there is no clear definition of hell, but there is no such thing as eternal punishment. All will spend some time in a purgatory, but the most one can spend there is 12 months and that would be for the most evil of people. With that in mind, what about a Hitler or a Stalin? Would evil people this be guaranteed heaven after going through purgatory? Is purgatory like the Catholic version where one suffers until they are purged from sin? Or is it something else entirely? Also, how do the Rabbis interpret it? It seems that the school of Shammai believed that there will be three groups on Judgment Day; the wicked, the righteous, and those in-between but the school of Hillel seemed not to believe in purgatory, saying that, He who is Master of grace tends towards grace (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 16b-17a). And what of the roots of the purgatorial belief? According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Kaufman Kohler claims that the idea came from Zend-Avesta (Zoroastrian scripture). Was this belief in purgatory an influence on Judaism or is the belief Torah-based? I know that these are many questions to answer, but like I stated earlier, I really am trying to understand. Shalom. Anonymoys, Illinois
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 121
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question Please, sir, I'm learning about your religion. I have read that 2 different Torahs exist. One was written in Jerusalem the other in Baghdad. Is there a conflict of which is the correct one. If not are they both now one Torah. Is this a non issue? Have separations of the Jewish faith or controversies arisen due to this? All info will be appreciated. Thank you, sir. George, Munich, Germany
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 44
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question How does one make her parents understand and accept her beliefs and way of life, if her parents are not religious and disagree with some of her actions? Thank you! Elisheva Peyrus, Brooklyn, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 41
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question Where do I begin to study the word of God? Living in the U.S. I have not had much exposure to the true ways of study. Where do I look? What Bible shoud I use? What is it called? and where can I get it? Thank you. Josef Espinosh, Kansas City, MO
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 22
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Mid 2002
The Question Dear Rabbi; I have the impression that Orthodox Jews believe that their version of Judaism is the only valid version. Is this true, and can you explain why they feel that way? Thank you. Fred Green, New Jersey
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 15
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Mid 2002
The Question My sister has become Orthodox. I want to be able to understand why she does all the (seemingly strange) stuff she does. One big question I have, which she hasn't been able to explain to me, is why it's so important to keep the Shabbat the way she does. It's supposed to be a day to rest and relax, and instead of having fun, she's cooped up in the house all day with so many children who can't do this, and can't do that. Why do they seem so uptight about everything, and is this normal? Thank you very much for your time. D.K., Phoenix, Arizona, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 5
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Mid 2002
The Question If we as Jews leave the world as we entered it, how do we account for circumcision and leaving a bit behind?!!! Tony Goodson, Melbourne, Australia
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 4
Category Understanding Judaism
Date Posted Mid 2002
The Question Hi, Rabbi. I recently went to a bar-mitzva at an Orthodox temple and there was what people called a "mechitza" separating the women from the men. I've never seen such a thing before, and it seemed so...well, wierd. And I also noticed that alot of the men wouldn't even shake other women's hands, let alone kiss them. Can you explain why there's so much separation between the sexes in Orthodox Judaism? It seems so outdated and unnecessary to me. Thank you for your time.
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


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