Author Archives: Matityahu

Who am I?

So today I got a question that isn’t related to Judaism but a question I am going to answer as I think it is a fair one for my readers and my answer here is something I will add for further information later on.

I have several questions but am nervous. You don’t say who you are and also you would delete “troll” questions. I don’t know what that means and it sounded unfriendly. So I’d like to know more and what you mean by troll Q’s etc.

Thanks

First of all please do not feel nervous about asking me any questions. I do not know who you are other than what you send me – you can even use a fake email address and I think I may even remote that later.

Sadly I can not go into too much information about myself as I have had people email me very nasty things in the past but my name is Matityahu, I live in the United Kingdom and I work for a charity known as Citizens Advice.

Troll questions are something I do admit is a bit of a grey area but I will try to explain. For every question I get, I get about three to four questions saying I should kill myself, some other racist terms and whatnot.

If you have a question about Judaism or want an opinion of a Jewish person – please feel free to ask. Just know it takes to take me time to answer questions – I just happen to saw this one pop up!

I do also want to stress I do not email the answers as they get published on this website for everyone to see.

Remembering a certain holiday

Today’s question is the following:

Hello, thank you for your help.
I’ like to honor a friend who I met fifty years ago when she had the day off from school for a Jewish Holiday back in 1969. I’d like to do something on that anniversary. I’m just not sure of the date. I remember that it was Autmn and either Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur in 1969. Do you know which Jewish holiday would have been observed by a public school, and what that date would have been? Thank you!

I can only answer this based on an educated guess as I have not been in education for many, many years but the only holiday I have ever seen that has always been allowed to take time away from school and work is Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur would have fallen on the 22nd of September in 1969. Researching the question I decided to ask around people I knew and it seems in the United States it is common as well for schools to close on Rosh Hashanah but I have never noticed this in the United Kingdom.

So to answer this question I would go with Yom Kippur simply from my own experience.

Common Genetics and Judaism

So today’s question is the following! (First part is deleted as it is just spelling/grammar problems on my website and I thank you for pointing it out to me!

Also, i have a question. Have the recent DNA haplogroup publications been of any relevance to jews? As far as i know, you inherit from your mother, and one is really a jew if their mother is a jew (correct me if im wrong). I however found numerous people online trying to associate jews to Y-DNA chromosomal studies, which is the paternal chromosome only passed on by the male. Should jews not be lookng at merely the mT- DNA (maternal) chromosome? If so, is there a mT – DNA that has been associated to true jews? Or can jews be from many different mT haplogroups? Since if true jews were only by birth of their jewish mother, than that would mean all jews have the same mT haplogroup in their DNA.

I will use the term “true Jew” to refer to the above compared to my answer. It is not written as an insult.

Checking if you are Jewish via genetics is both an interesting question but also one with no “useful” answer but let me explain. You are correct in saying that someone is Jewish if their mother is Jewish (at least to Orthodox Judaism and some other point of view as Reform Judaism tends to agree it can be either parent) but it isn’t the only way to become Jewish.

It is possible to convert to Judaism and avoid having any common genetic material that other Jews may have. You are however correct-ish on the last line. If we assume all ” true Jews” are via the mother only then you would only need to look for common genes. However, that logic assumes no one converts to Judaism, no baby is adopted into a family and so on.

To answer the question you would be correct in it would make sense to compare the mother’s bloodline rather than the father’s but this is something that varies on the question “who is a Jew”.

TL’DR answer: Many Jews will have genes in common however not every single Jewish person was born into Judaism from their mother with many having converted, adopted and such.

Did we peak?

Before I post the question of today I would like to say that I know there are quite a few old questions waiting to be answered and I am getting to them. The system I use for questions right now sucks and I see them in random order.

So today’s question is

Do Jews believe that civilization peaked in the days of the old testmant and why

This is an interesting question with an answer that sadly isn’t as interesting. First. there is no such thing as the Old Testament in Judaism so I am going to assume you mean the Torah (Yes, I do know there is in Christianity but this is a question about Judaism).

My opinion on this answer is simply no. While no one can really deny the bloody history of humanity but during around 0 B.C.E. history (again, I am assuming this is around the era the question means) was not really the best of place for many. illness was still common, political freedom was starting to come around and so much more than as of today we take for granted.

In today’s era civilisation has only gone forward. We have generally overall peace, freedom, science and technologies that overall improve our everyday lives and with hope will only carry on.

However to answer the question – that depends on the person. There are Jewish groups out there that would prefer for culture to revert back to older days but there are others that embrace what the future has to offer.

Why did animal sacrificing stop?

First I would like to say sorry regarding the replies lately I been quite unwell but I see there quite a few to be answered and I will do it from newest to older!

So today’s question is:

I finally obtained a copy of the Torah. I am reading in the book of Leviticus the laws of Moses. There are a number of Laws about the offering of animals. I am certain this is no longer a practice. Many other laws are still are valid (dietary). Other than laws of the land what is the justification of not doing this now or have other thing been substituted such as beets for hearts?

While the law of the land is one answer it is mostly because the temple was destroyed and we needed the temple to do the sacrificing. While I am not going to get into a debate about the ethics behind it, not my point of view it has been replaced but not in the same way.

Today Jews work towards repent not by sacrificing but by prayer, by charity work, by good deeds and more. Animal sacrifice was not the only method to be able to atone for sins and I honestly have not yet met someone that wants it back.

Just like how the Torah limited animal sacrificing – we are in an era where as people we don’t feel we need to do it anymore and the Torah provides other methods for that reason.

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