Author Archives: Matityahu

A few things about Jewish life

Today’s questions is a mixture and not a single one as normal but if you sent me a question and it seems to not have been answered please send it again as I am changing the back end system so they don’t go missing.

What are some things that you do daily as a part of your religion?

What misconceptions are there about your religion?

How does your religion help you get through tough times? 

What should a believer in your religion do before they die?

What happens to someone who doesn’t believe in your religion in the afterlife?

Can I join the Jewish faith?


Wyatt 

What are some things that you do daily as a part of your religion?

Studying the Torah daily where possible, staying kosher and following as many mitzvot as I can do. Outside of the religious life is pretty much the same as anyone else.

What misconceptions are there about your religion?

The major thing I would have to say is that Judaism stops with the Christian “Old Testament” and that there is nothing else at all and can learn everything about Judaism by just reading the “Old Testament”.

This is not true at all. While the Old Testament is mostly based on the
Tanakh, it is the stories and Rabbis’ understanding of the eras of those texts.

If you want to learn a Jewish point of view I would recommend a Jewish Study Bible which would be a good start but trust me there is a reason both The Simpsons and Family Guy jokes about saying – “What do YOU think?”.

How does your religion help you get through tough times? 

The major thing isn’t the religion itself, it is the overall community. I imagine it could be different elsewhere but I never felt excluded from the overall community and I could go to pretty much any Jewish community and feel like family.

What should a believer in your religion do before they die?

Two important things to do – live according to the Torah and to live a good and honest life. What we do now to each other and ourselves is far more important than worrying about what will happen afterwards.

What happens to someone who doesn’t believe in your religion in the afterlife?

The same that happens to a Jew. Unlike most other western religions, most Jews don’t believe in an afterlife such as “heaven and hell” but instead that we are revived in the world to come (HaOlam HaBa) with eternal life with those living a good life coming back – Jew or not. Jews are expected to follow many more rules than a non-Jew and its something I will go into further detail on this website in future.

In other words, assuming non-Jews follow the seven laws of Noah they are a Ger toshava and will be welcomed in the world to come.

It is worth saying there is two places known as Olam Haba, Gan Eden & Gehinom which is like the Christian Heaven and Hell but Gehinom isn’t forever for those that go there. I recommend looking into this further if you are interested.

Can I join the Jewish faith?

You can indeed but it is something to think about deeply. Unlike many other religions, you do not need to convert to Judaism to “be saved” or anything on those lines. What matters is to live an honest and good life and honour G’d in your actions. You will find helping out at a food bank, that old lady down the road and much more to be awarded to yourself.

There is a movement known as Noahidism which explains the above in far more detail but if Judaism still appeals to your heart then contact your local Rabbi.

Do I believe in Jesus?

First I would like to say sorry for the downtime of this website – I didn’t notice the domain expired! So today’s question is

do you believe in jesus

Robert

This is a question I get quite a lot on Ask a Jew but overall the answer is “no”. You will find in most Jewish communities the answer will be no nor will they believe that he was the son of G’d or the Messiah.

However, do I believe Jesus existed as a person? Yes, you will find more and more people nowadays within the Jewish community comes to see Jesus as a Jewish teacher in a time that was politically … interesting for Jews and Romans.

With that said you will find there are Jews out there that believe in Jesus and the original Christians would have quite likely to have been Jewish but you will find most Jews that belief in Jesus would have converted to Christianity

If anyone reading is interested there is a movement known as Messianic Jews which tries to combine the core of Judaism and what it is to be Jewish but aside with the belief that Jesus is the Messiah and the son of G’d but you will find in general Jews do not believe in Jesus as how Christianity does.

Working on the Sabbath

Curious about how work is decided on the Sabbath? Is Jewish soctor not save a life? If there is a car accident in front of your house would it break the Sabbath to help out? Why would the omniscent God actually care about things such as this? Does the Jewish faith carry out laws written in Leviticus? Sorry for so many questions

Never be sorry for asking questions – it is the only way we learn!

Doctors do have a duty to help ease and heal people but when it can be avoided a Jewish doctor should not do said duties on the Sabbath nor another type of forbidden work but there is a law called “pikuach nefesh” which pretty much means saving a life.

Saving a life is seen as far higher than most things we are commanded not to do. Such examples includes eating non kosher food where otherwise you would starve and another example is where otherwise someone would die.

So in the questions above if a Jewish doctor was the only one that could save the person life then there is no question at all – their doctor oath comes first. If there was a car accident then checking people are alright or having to contact any services is fine.

It is worth adding that while saving a life is above most commands there are some that are placed higher such as not allowed defaming G’ds name, certain sexual acts and murder (although in self-defence or yourself or another is).

The Sabbath is important because it is a day we give to G’d. A day where we remember what G’d has done for us, the time it took for creation and for G’d on the day he picked to rest. I can not tell you why its important to G’d but it is important to us to remember everything that has been done for us.

Leviticus (I will carry on using this name for the rest of the question by Vayikra is the Hebrew name of the book) in a nutshell is something we should follow but there are parts which many Jews do disagree with such as animal sacrifice and it is something debated in the community about why. Nowadays the book is often read as a historical reminder of where we have been and it’s quite likely to be debated even further when The Third Temple is built.

So to answer that question not exactly nowadays. Some parts are, some parts ain’t and it ultimately varies between Jewish communities and sects.

Checking if I am Jewish

Today’s question (sorry about the delay!) that goes as follow.

My grandparents and grandmother (on my father’s side) were Jewish. My mother’s father was a tailor and his mother was named Ruth. We have k evidence as their Jewish heritage, although they may have become assimilated. My question is, how much if me is Jewish, if any!

Many thanks


Question by Steve

The question of who is a Jew is actually a tricky answer as many different Jewish branches will answer this question differently such as Reform Judaism would accept you as Jewish because your father would be Jewish in your question above while Orthodox Judaism would say no because your mother isn’t Jewish or at least you can’t confirm it.

There is a wonderful diagram from Reddit that you can follow to help you understand how the different branches see this.

https://imgur.com/r/Judaism/19hlS

Most important thing in a synagogue

What are the most important things to you in the synagogue and why?

A day or two ago I got this question and I do believe it was one of the questions that wasn’t answered months ago due to this website having problems.

To myself the most important thing within a synagogue and most likely to most Jews as well – the Torah and the Ark that holds it. The Torah I am pretty sure does not need to be explained why it is important to myself so I will move onto the Ark.

The Ark in a nutshell is where the Torah scrolls are stored when they are not being read and so on. It both protects and reminds us of the original ark itself.

The last important thing outside of the synagogue itself would be the people themselves. Without each other none of our culture or community would be here today.

Most important thing about a synagogue

What is the most important thing about a synagogue for Jewish people?

First, I’m sorry about the last of replies on this website. I had a problem with the wp_post table which stopped me from posting anything on this website and then after I fixed it a new editor was released that caused further issues.

Anyhows I’m going to go over a few of my backlog and this is the first question. If I don’t answer your question soon please do re-send.

So a while back I got this question and in my opinion there is two answers. The first is regarding the Torah and the studying and much more that goes on there but honestly I think there is a second answer that I think many will agree with me on – the community.

A synagogue brings Jews together and band together as a community much like how a church is a central point of many Christian lives – a place where they can stay in touch with their local community.

Reading of the will

Sorry about the lack of replies right now – am going to be going over my quite large backlogs and life right now be taking over so much of my time.

So I got two questions the other day which you can read below.

Hi! My question is: after a death, how long would a mourner wait to read the deceased’s will? Would it be totally taboo – or even not allowed – for the next of kin to ask to see if the day after death? Many thanks 🙂

Sorry, another question – I read that flowers weren’t a done thing at Jewish funerals, but would a Synagogue make an exception if the deceased, was, say, in a relationship with someone non-Jewish, who wanted to have flowers? Thankyou!

To answer the first bit about the will – It might just be me but I never heard or read anything that says you can’t read the will a day after a death. I did try to look up from a few different sources but I couldn’t find anything. I could be wrong but I can’t find anything to say otherwise.

Regarding the flowers, you are correct there. There is a couple of reasons why we don’t place flowers and its mostly down to everyone being equal, flowers die and not a good way to remember someone and that its better usage elsewhere for the money you spend on the flowers.

What I mean by this is it’s better to give the money you were going to spend on flowers over to a charity in the memory of the one that has passed away. It will help other people and have a far more long impact and after you done that take a simple stone and place it on the grave to show someone still remembers.

Regarding the actual question would they allow it? This is a harsh “maybe” but it might be seen as disrespectable or even just removed outright.

I’m going to toss out a link to Chabad about what you can expect on the day: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2699548/jewish/What-to-Expect-at-a-Jewish-Funeral.htm

What are your thoughts on crypto currency?

A short while ago I got the following question and one I am going to enjoy answering:

What are your thoughts on crypto currency?

To myself personally, I believe cryptocurrency is a way forward in changing how we think about money on a day to day basis and to get that away from a centralized location such as with the Government and banks. To be able to have a source of currency that isn’t subjectable to the will of world Governments is a great thing (although they do come with their own problems a Google search will go into these) for us as a society.

In terms of investing in them, however, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump into it. Bitcoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that has actually made a profit and is trusted and the others I have heard about is somewhat questionable and I would not trust throwing your money at it.

Now I am now an investor but I can tell you the bubble will pop in future but the greatest benefit behind it is the technology we gained from it and the fact we can have a currency without Government input is a way forward in the future.

With all that said I love cryptocurrency and believe it will be the future but give it time and there will be laws either controlling it, making it illegal or some other stuff to make it unwanted and that is where cryptocurrency will really be tested as a currency that can be used daily and replace what we know about money now.

What do Jewish men like as gifts?

With Hanukkah now over I thought I would come back to answering a few questions and while there are two very interesting questions I will answer some point next week (one about digital currency – will be an interesting read!) I figured I will do this quick one.

So the question was simple – what do Jewish men like for gifts. Well this is the same as any male really it all depends on what they like and typically buying something for their hobby would be great. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a website like https://www.israel365.com/ (no referral link).

 

Contacting to Judaism at a young age

A short while ago I got a question from Izzy who asked.

How can I convert to Jewism if I’m 14?

The technical answer is you can convert at that age but practically I doubt it will be possible for a Rabbi to start the progress with you as converting is quite a serious choice you have to make.

With that said there is nothing stopping you right now from going to a local Rabbi from the branch of Judaism you wish to convert to and speaking to them, getting used to the culture and learning much more about Judaism so you know you are making the right choice.

It also worth saying that your local Shul quite likely has evening lessons about Judaism (and possibly Hebrew) where you can learn a lot more.

Remember there is no harm at all from having an interest in Judaism at such a young age – I did as well!