Category Archives: Q/A

All questions and answers posted on Ask a Jew!

Gentiles and Yahrzeit

First of all, I would like to apologise to the poster for this question. I am not sure how I missed it but I imagine it is long and pointless for you to read it. With that said I think it is still helpful for others.

Can gentiles observe Yahrzeit and recite Kaddish in English for a very close Jewish friend even though his family will be observing with their community?

Question by Sheri
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To kill or exclude?

Today’s question is about Witchcraft!

Shalom, Im a Christian Trying to understand and converse the old scripts to understanding today, my question is how Should i understand exodus 22.18
”“You shall not allow a woman who practices sorcery to live.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭22:18‬ ‭AMP‬‬
Today many Sorcerers live in my country and in exodus 20 it says do not kill.
How do you

Question from Gabriel
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How do Hebrew numbers work

For today’s question, I am going to explain how the Hebrew numbering system works even tho the core of the question is about converting something into Hebrew – something I don’t do on this website or it will be the only type of question that gets published.

How do you spell 5782 in Hebrew… I have found three different spellings: תשפ״ב היתשפב היןפב – Also how do you spell 5783? Thank you

Question from Sherry

So to answer it real quickly: 5782 = ה׳תשפ”ב and 5783 = ה׳תשפ”ג. With the Hebrew translation aside let’s go into how we got to this number and why it is written as it is. As of when I published this answer the Hebrew layout was correct but WordPress being WordPress may flip the text later on so leave a comment if it has and I will fix it.

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What is a High Sabbath?

For today’s question, we have the following.

What is the difference between a Sabbath day and a ‘High’ Sabbath day?

Question from Sherry

Thank you for the question and it is one you will find if you search for it you will find answers mostly from a Christian point of view. Within the typical Jewish faith and culture there isn’t a “High Sabbath” but you will find the closest term is Yamim Noraim or High Holy Days.

Yamim Noraim are important days within Jewish faith and culture which has their own rules and customs when it comes to those high holidays. Most High Holy Days most Jews will get involved with even if they are not that religious and are generally treated the same as if those days are the Sabbath

So what is a High Sabbath then? In short, it is a term found in Messianic Jewish and not one you will typically find within Judaism but they are days Messianic Jews and Christians treat the same as if it was the Sabbath.

So to answer the question – the difference is a “High Sabbath” is a day treated like the Sabbath within the Messianic Judaism faith but Judaism does have something much alike known as High Holy Days.

Polygamy within Judaism

Today I got a couple of questions from the same person but due to how my system works for how I get questions they will be answered out of order!

So today’s question is as follows.

My second question is, why are Jacov, David, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Elkanah, Ashur, Caleb, Esau, Rehoboam, Lamech, Jehoiada, Abijah, and probably many I've not read about have multiple wives and G'd didn't tell them it was bad? Like, with Soloman G'd is angry because his wives have foreign gods he starts worshiping. 

But he's not angry that he has more than one wife. Abraham, Jacov and David and Moses appear to be very favoured in Yhwh's eyes. He said David is righteous, yet he has loads of wives. Moses was like one of the most holy, he wrote the tablets and went upon the hill directly with G'd... The ten commandments say don't commit adultery but that seems definitely not to apply here, because shortly after G'd gives rules to Moses about multiple wives. 

Basically, why do Jewish people now not seem to practice this now, compared to Muslims and other religions? I know Genesis 2 has the "one flesh" but it doesn't seem to be applying to just 2 people as G'd says in 2 Samuel 12:7-8 that he gave wives (as a gift) and would have given twice that many. Am I just missing some information about Jewish culture/a historical context.
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How long did it really take to make everything

Today’s question is regarding creation and just how long it took.

Do Jew believe G-d created the universe in 6 literal days as it is written or are they figurative days?

Sadly like many questions regarding the Torah you will find some will say yes, others will say no and very few are wrong based on the text within the Torah. How I am going to answer this is based on our modern understanding of science and further information we can find out within the Tanakh.

While it is true that it is written that it took six days for creation and we can confirm this via the word יום‎ or yom. The word yom is understood to mean “day” such as twenty four hours but it can also be read as a defined amount of time such as a year, seasons, eons and much longer defined time.

With this word alone we could make the debate that creation happened over six unknown amount of time and I would agree with this but what else is there to support this?

The next reason it is meaning an undefined amount of time is the order of creation itself suggest that an Earth’s day didn’t yet exist.

And G’d called the light day, and the darkness He called night, and it was evening and it was morning, one day.

Genesis 1:5

וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים | לָאוֹר֙ י֔וֹם וְלַח֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר י֥וֹם אֶחָֽד:

This suggests that HaShem created the Earth first, then the Sun and then the Moon. Based on this alone it would be impossible for a twenty-hour cycle to have started yet.

I could go into a few more quotes about how time isn’t the same for ourselves and HaShem but I will leave it there to go back to the actual question – is it meant to be taken exactly as written?

Well, the answer there really is it’s up to you. There are two schools of understanding and evidence both ways that the first part of the Torah is meant to be understood as a moral lesson and that is why it is done like that while others debate it is written exactly like that so it should be understood exactly like that.

Just like the old saying goes – for every two Jews there will be three opinions. I hope it answers at least why you could see why it can be debated it took longer than six actual literal days.