"Why is the festival of Shavuot called 'The time of the giving of our Torah' and not the time of the receiving of our Torah? Because the giving of the Torah happened at one specified time, but the receiving of the Torah happens at every time and in every generation. -- Rabbi Meir Alter of Ger"
Dear Rabbi, a column where readers ask questions and the rabbi answers.
What is the nature of the struggle for Jewish continuity? What is it that the Jewish community is trying to sustain, and why should we bother?
Letters to Dear Rabbi.
I have been taking on new mitzvot throughout the past years. I have begun wearing tzitzit regularly and have been working at becoming stricter concerning Shabbat.
Although I was raised Jewish, attended Hebrew school and became a bar mitzvah, my family was not particularly observant. At some point, my father -- the grandson of Orthodox rabbis -- became less and less involved in Jewish life, except during holidays and yahrtzeits.
In the light of this pernicious and ever-present danger, Abbahu's Talmudic advice revealed the illusory nature of our being different.
On the surface, the mitzvah of tzedakah, the commandment to give, is a very simple one. Deuteronomy says, "If there is a needy person among you, don't harden your heart, don't shut your hand against your needy kin.
One of the most remarkable stories in the Bible is the deathbed scene of King David. The aged monarch, ready to hand over the rule of his kingdom, speaks to his son, the future King Solomon, about what Solomon ought to do after David has died. Trained as we are to expect the Bible to reflect love, forgiveness and compassion, it is shocking to read what David actually tells his son. Rather than instructing Solomon to start with a clean slate, to forgive everybody, to forget the wrongs that have been done to the monarchy, King David recounts a laundry list of those people who have offended the monarchy and harmed the nation. He bids his son to see that they don't escape retribution.
"This is a story about my brother, Moriel. Moriel has autism.