What is an Eruv?

Today’s question is one that I imagine a lot of people who live in a Jewish community may not even have seen and sadly something that also is not that common in the United Kingdom.

I am trying to learn more about Eruv. I understand that it is a boundary helping Orthodox Jews be able to move about on Shabbot. Is the line that looks like fishing wire continuous? I tried to follow it but it ended and is not visible along the map the local synagogue posted.

Shela

In the most simple way to explain this that an Eruv is a “pole with a wire” on it that encloses an area that symbolically “merges” an area so that private homes and public areas are “merged” into one private area thus avoiding transferring domains which allows a Jew in order to do things that otherwise would not be allowed outside of their homes on the Sabbath. Such examples are carrying keys, medication, baby prams and more.

I think before I carry on it may be worth discussing what a domain is. There are four types of domains which are.

  • Private (such as your home)
  • Public (such as a shopping mall)
  • Neutral (something that isn’t really either
  • Carmelit (everything else that isn’t above)

If it is still hard to understand imagine a square that is your house. Now imagine a bigger square around your house – this bigger square is the Eruv which encloses your house so you live within the Eruv – your house happens to be apart of it as long as the whole thing is always connected. The logic being you are no longer going from private to the public domain when leaving your house – you never left as long as it is within the Eruv as the domains have been merged!

The red line is the Eruv

Now to answer the question – yes they are continuous. The boundary of them is not to be broken otherwise it is no longer valid until it is repaired. You will also find that it is not always a line as other things such as a fence and walls are also included.

There is much more to it than a simple wire or fence in order to make it valid but for the sake of the question, I feel I gone into enough detail but if anyone is interested in the conditions needed in order for this to be valid then do let me know!

Who is “Hashem”

Hello, I just heard the Jewish call to prayer and the second verse says “Hashem is our God” and the third verse says “Hashem is the one and only” who is Hashem in the Jewish faith? I’ve never heard that name in the Jewish faith before.

Today’s question I got pretty much about 10 minutes ago before I was going to head out for the day but it is to do with the name – Hashem.

Hashem (or in English simply “the name” is a way of referring to G’d without saying his name (or one of his many different names). It helps to never use his name in vain and to treat it with respect. You will find this name is commonly used outside of reading the Torah.

If you are a Harry Potter fan its kinda the same logic as with Voldermort and with the whole “he who shall not be named”.

Merged families and the Plague

Today’s question is quite an interesting Biblical one!

Question about the plague of the first born.

So in a family that has half brothers which one would be killed? Example: mother and father have a son, father dies, mother remarries and has another son. Would they both be killed as the second son is the first born of the new dad?

The truth to this is we do not really know and sadly I am unable to find any sources that even remotely hints about merged families during that time nor could I find anything about twins being within the plague to see what happened there.

An educated guess and this only goes by the logic of the time that I would assume both be killed as the father was seen as very important in the family household and that it was “their bloodline”.

Sadly however it will only be an educated guess on my behalf but should I ever find an answer to this I will update this at a later time.

What to say about killing Yeshua

What do you say to people who say that the Jews killed Christ? (I am Jewish)

Ah, the time-old question that has fueled so much anti-Semitism in many years but there is quite a simple reply which is: ” Yeshua was killed by politicians, any that were Jewish is irrelevant”.

Yeshua regardless of which accounts you look into – the Christian Bible or documents from said time would have caught the attention from politicians for causing a stir within the Jewish community and the temple and this would have happened regardless who did it or why.

Sadly at the end of the day, Yeshua was one of many Jews that were executed, and one of even more that suffered violence at the hands of the Roman Empire and if you believe in Christianity or the person that asks you this question does should know anyway it doesn’t matter who was the agents of his death – he willingly died for them and wanted it to happen.

What attracted me to Judaism?

Hello. I actually have 3 questions. What are your personal and family jewish practices? What aspect of Judaism is particularly attractive to you? What challenges do you think someone from the United States would have with being a Jew? What are your strategies for passing active religious beliefs to the next generation? Thank you!

I have a feeling my contact form is not working correctly on this website as I am noticing a lot of questions are not being sent to me and sorry that I just have seen this one.

No worries about the three questions and I will divide them accordingly.

What attracts me to Judaism?

As I have written before on the old Ask a Jew website, the reason I converted to Judaism is the same things that still hold true to this day. The first is the overall Jewish community is united and deeply cares about each other regardless of where you are from and so on. It is this large family so to speak which means it matters little where you are in the world you feel welcomed.

The second is G’d. When I was born I was baptised as a Catholic and as irony would go, as a child I wanted to become a Priest in √Čire but there was something I could not understand about Catholicism or Christianity itself – why would G’d punish someone that was not even born? This idea of the original sin started to come across to me as a “method” to keep people in the Church.

For the rest of this question, I am going to answer using terms of the Catholic faith so my terminology does not get confusing.

The more I researched further into the Catholic Bible, the more it came across that Jesus was a man who wanted to help everyone – both Jew and Goy. Furthermore, it comes across to me that Jesus wanted to reform the faith.

It was due to this I decided to look solely at the Old Testament and it is from there I started to study the Torah and my interest in the Jewish faith came about.

What challenges do you think someone from the USA would have to be Jewish?

I can’t speak about the United States directly but in Europe, I think the biggest challenge is culture itself is swinging back to anti-Semitism being an okay thing to feel/

Passing religious beliefs to the next generation?

Education and adapting the Talmud is something that I believe will help the Jewish faith in the long run. We need to accept that people understand text differently in years to come and that the Talmud shouldn’t be a shut book now – we should still have debates on it and publish new findings as we go

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.