Speech

Foul Language – I am always bothered when I hear Jews using foul speech, or when they use such pejoratives as “nigger.” It led me to wonder: Does the Torah actually forbid such behavior? I can’t really think of what verse or heading… More »
Lying, Providing False Information – I’m trying to open a certain computer account and it’s asking for my age. Is there anything wrong with lying to a computer? More »
Posting Negative Online Reviews – It’s very common to write an online review of any business you patronized, product you purchased, or hotel you visited (on Google, Yelp, Amazon, etc.). How is doing so consistent with the laws against lashon hara – forbidden gossip? If… More »
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Acts of Kindness

Acting in the Image of God – I often see a reference to people being “created in the image of God.” I think this is a beautiful way to treat others, but I don't always see people acting this way. Your thoughts would be appreciated. More »
Becoming a 'Giver' – I’ve been married now for almost a year and my wife is starting to get impatient. He says that I’m selfish and don’t know how to give. I see that in many ways she is right. I grew up in… More »
Definition of a Jew – I am Jewish, but the other day someone asked me: “What is a Jew?” I was a bit shocked that I could not articulate a proper answer. So... what is a Jew? More »
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Honoring Parents

Adopted Children – Parents’ Names – I was not raised by my biological parents and was adopted as a baby. For my Jewish name, am I considered the son of (“ben”) my biological parents or my adoptive ones? I’m very close to the latter and feel… More »
Child Attending Parent’s Second Marriage – My parents are divorced and my father is remarrying in the near future. It will be a very small ceremony, and I was told that the children of the first marriage should not attend. Is that true? More »
Convert – Mourning & Kaddish for Non-Jewish Parent – I am a convert but I still have a good relationship with my parents, who are very decent people and who were very supportive of my religious transformation. Unfortunately, my father is not doing well. In the event that matters… More »
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Marriage & Dating

Living Together – Fifty percent of couples who marry today live together beforehand. Their odds of divorce are two times greater than couples who don’t. (Psychology Today, July/August 2005) . End of argument! In fact the studies go one step further. Couples who… More »
Becoming a 'Giver' – I’ve been married now for almost a year and my wife is starting to get impatient. He says that I’m selfish and don’t know how to give. I see that in many ways she is right. I grew up in… More »
Cousin Marriages – Does the Torah permit cousin marriages? Is the topic discussed at all? I’m concerned in particular because the inbreeding is likely to cause genetic disorders, as historically happened to many royal families. I have the impression that upper class Jewish… More »
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Parenting

Siamese Twins – The situation in Manchester, England is heart-breaking. Two baby girls, barely a month old, are conjoined at the lower abdomen. Mary has no heart or lungs and is being kept alive by her sister Jodie. Jodie has a good chance… More »
Adoption – We are looking to adopt a Jewish child, preferably a baby (as yet unborn). Can you help us find one in Israel, possibly an out-of-wedlock situation. It would be a real mitzvah for all concerned. We have excellent references within… More »
Are Parents Responsible for a Child's Actions? – I recently read about some children who were murdered in a rampage. The parents of the victims were blaming the parents of the shooter. I know that parents must teach their kids right and wrong, and are responsible for their… More »
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Friends & Family

Sibling Rivalry – A Hebrew School teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor" thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our… More »
Are We Obligated to Forgive? – I was hurt very deeply by another person. She either isn’t aware how hurtful her actions were or just doesn’t care. I’m wondering what I should do now, especially with Yom Kippur approaching. I know I am supposed to forgive… More »
Asking Forgiveness from the Deceased – In my past I wronged someone who is unfortunately no longer alive today. Is there any way I can make amends? More »
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Science & Evolution

Alien Creatures – Now that traces of water have been discovered on Mars, I tend to believe that life could exist on other planets. I assume that traditional Judaism doesn’t say anything about alien life in outer space. What’s your opinion? More »
Awesome Moon – I thought you would enjoy knowing that a full moon will occur on the winter solstice, in conjunction with a lunar perigee – the point in the moon's orbit that is closest to Earth. The moon will appear about 14… 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 universe. But physics says that… More »
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Animals & Nature

Animal Castration – We have a 9-month-old dog that the vet said should be castrated due to his hyperactive and obsessive behavior. We know that according to Judaism, a dog should not be castrated. But in this instance the dog may have to… 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 done? More »
Animal Souls – I have a dog that I love dearly. She has brought joy to my life and brought smiles to the faces of many. I've heard many people say that animals don't have souls or that their souls are different from… More »
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Medical & Health

120 Year Lifespan – I was curious about the blessing we give people to live till 120 years. What is the origin of the expression? Is that just a nice, very high number, or is that considered the upper limit? I wouldn’t think so… More »
Assisted Suicide – I am a university student in Alberta, Canada and I am doing a research paper on euthanasia from the Jewish perspective. Can you direct me to more information? Thank you. More »
Blessing on Medicines – I am currently taking a liquid medication which has a flavoring but does not exactly taste good. Do I recite a blessing over it? More »
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Reproduction, Pregnancy

Abortion - Yes Or No? – I never thought this would happen to me. I'm pregnant. And now I don't know what to do. I realize this is an important decision – not only for my own emotional well-being, but the heavy moral implications as well.… More »
Announcing a Pregnancy – I just found out recently that I am expecting. As an only child, I am anxious to tell my parents of the upcoming good news. However, I know people often wait a few months first. Is there any such requirement… More »
Birth Control – I see that religious Jews have large families. Is it true that they don’t practice birth control? More »
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Workplace & School

Dangerous Occupation – Is it permissible to engage in work which carries occupational hazards and even danger to life, such as a firefighter, rescue worker, construction worker, and the like? More »
Heating up Food in a Non-Kosher Oven – Is there a way I can use the toaster oven at work to heat up food? More »
Human Greatness – I want to achieve greatness in my life, but it seems that I don’t have a lot of natural talent. I also don’t have much money and resources, and don’t come from a well-connected family. I wonder what my future… More »
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Society

Visiting the Sick – I work near a hospital and on my lunch hour I have been volunteering to visit the Jewish patients. Are there any specific Jewish traditions regarding visiting the sick? More »
Adultery - Jewish Perspective – What is so bad about adultery that it is prohibited in the 10 commandments? More »
Aging and Youth – I've seen and heard lots of talk recently about attempts of the increasingly aging population to "stay young." To me, as a baby boomer, some of it seems enticing but some of it feels inappropriate. Does Judaism have anything to… More »
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Arts & Entertainment

Burning of Woodstock – I always imagined the icon of "Woodstock" to represent peace, love and goodwill. But that image exploded when I watched the 1999 edition of the rally turn into a spontaneous riot. Large fires were set, trailers full of merchandise and… More »
Film Portrayal of Infertility – I recently saw the Israeli film "Kadosh." The story is set today in Mea Shearim, the Orthodox quarter of Jerusalem, and is concerned with the constraints that orthodoxy places, or can place, on personal freedom. The story revolves around two… More »
Harry Potter and the Jews – The Harry Potter series is so popular, but it got me wondering: Does it classify as witchcraft? Should children be allowed / encouraged / discouraged in its reading? More »
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