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RabbiAbrams



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PostSubject: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:23 am

Hello, all.

I am a Rabbi who works primarily in Chaplaincy, and even more accurately, mostly with elderly and Hospice patients.

I have a great deal of experience in Conversion matters as well, and am a Mashgiach to a Kosher restaurant in the Los Angeles area.

My personal website may be found at www.rabbiabrams.org, and my Chaplaincy site is at www.mrcsonline.org.

I look forward to your questions!

--Rabbi Alan Abrams
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:51 pm

Ok question on Talmud and Halacha. From my understanding in studying Talmud, it is not suppose to be written but to change according to the times...progress, has it done so? The Talmud law that it should never be written is suspended for now, when are they going to unsuspend the printing of it? If the Talmud supposed to be fluid or a living thing, changing and progressing...then why is there Ultra Orthodox and Hereidi communities? Also Halacha is voted by majority rules, do women represent women? Women had been given prominent roles in Torah and Talmud, why are women not allowed to hold positions like they did hundreds of centuries ago?
An easy one, why can't we eat poultry with dairy? Its not in its mothers milk? Can meats be mixed like chicken and lamb in cury sauce, turkey and roast beef sub sandwich? Thx
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RabbiAbrams



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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:15 pm

OKAY!

Thanks for these great questions.

First of all, let's attack the Kashrut issues. Any meat may be mixed with any meat, My favorite, in fact, is a Roast Beef-Turkey sandwich. Is curry sauce made with dairy? If not, then pour all you want onto your lamb chops.

Relative to the chicken/meat question; you are technically correct, but, "Minhag haMakom, (the law of the land; tradition of the community) in this instance governs that poultry continues to be considered meat.

Onto your HUGE question: Again, you are absolutely correct. Personally, I am vehemently against many of the Charedi thought processes.

The word TALMUD itself comes from the shoresh (root) LAMED MEM DALET; למד, which has to do with LEARNING, and learning is, of course, an ongoing process.

Why will these people not follow their own rules (as written two thousand years ago)? Well, many they do, and many they don't. They do not, for instance, follow rules associated with respect of or ethical treatment of women. Kibbud Em, the Mitzvah of HONORING/RESPECTING ONE"S MOTHER, for instance. In the Charedi world, women are not treated at all with the respect afforded them by even the EYSHET CHAYIL (Woman of Valor) poem. This, in my opinion, is shameful and wrong. BUt, I am just me, a 50 year old Rabbi in Los Angeles who works with old ladies. ;-)

I believe that all of Halakha comes down to this:

V'Ahavta et haShem Elokeicha... Deuteronomy 6:5-9 and the Haya im shamoah, Deut. 11:13-21 is our warning and agreement.

As we are all made in the image of G-d, it is our obligation to love Him, and to love each other as we do Him (multiple citations).

People of any denomination should at the VERY LEAST, follow these Mitzvot. Those who do not, are, IMHO, simply hypocritical.

--Rabbi A
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:27 pm

Wow a billion thanks for a quick response! So the meat thing is according to the community? On the Talmud and Halacha, when the era of Moshiac, will it be Orthodoxy or Modern way of life since we are going back to sacrifices or will it be sacrifices of obedience, worship etc.? Also I am confused on the Moshiach era because I read about the resurection, will living and resurected people be together? and does that mean no one will die? So confused on that topic. He is supposed to bring about peace, is that like after resurection? Whats this whole Moshiac thing about? If he is supposed to be a king then who will anoint him king? There has always been two, a king and a prophet to anoint him or a personally appointed Judge by Hashem. Is the temple supposed to be built to bring about the Moshiac or the Moshiac supposed to build it?
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:34 pm

Quote :
BUt, I am just me, a 50 year old Rabbi in Los Angeles who works with old ladies. ;-)
lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:52 pm

Bee wrote:
Wow a billion thanks for a quick response! So the meat thing is according to the community? On the Talmud and Halacha, when the era of Moshiac, will it be Orthodoxy or Modern way of life since we are going back to sacrifices or will it be sacrifices of obedience, worship etc.? Also I am confused on the Moshiach era because I read about the resurection, will living and resurected people be together? and does that mean no one will die? So confused on that topic. He is supposed to bring about peace, is that like after resurection? Whats this whole Moshiac thing about? If he is supposed to be a king then who will anoint him king? There has always been two, a king and a prophet to anoint him or a personally appointed Judge by Hashem. Is the temple supposed to be built to bring about the Moshiac or the Moshiac supposed to build it?

Sorry if i bombarded you with these questions.
I am learning about Rabbi Akiva- I didnt know he was a convert?
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RabbiAbrams



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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:09 pm

Hi--

Rabbi Akiva's FATHER was a convert.

As for the Talmudic/Mashiach questiosn, best to ask someone in a black suit and hat who is more geared and better suited (pun intended) than me.

BTW, MANY JBC's choose for whatever reason to try and understand Talmud and believe it to be equal to Torah, when in FACT, the Talmud is ONLY a guide to interpretation of the Torah.

Be YOURSELF, NOT who and WHAT someone else tells you to be.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:50 pm

Ok, I will eventually understand the whole dead-living thing, moshiac subject. As far as Talmud, I really truely feel that there is so much to learn from it and it is not equal to Torah but is equally important. I personally love Talmud studies, my husband and I are on our 7th Talmud tractate. I agree one must master the Torah in order to move on to Talmud, I could never claim that I mastered the Torah...I think my husband has come far but he begs to difer. The Torah is alive and magnificent and along with Talmud, it is even more brilliant. I can't imagine not having both. I am also studying Chofetz Chaim (A Lesson A Day)...I find it difficult, not with the text but because I realized I have a problem with Lashon hora. I failed completely this last week knowing that I should not even listen to gossip but worse I found myself trapped in these discussions . I visited family for a week and my inlaws complained about my mother and vice versus. I can do great away from family but when I'm with them I fail. My family has been supportive of me and I did not want to offend by saying to stop because they would feel like I am better than them or hollier now. Any suggestions on dealing with this guilt of failure? I feel I dishonoured them because I know better. I hope they are blessed.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:50 am

ps. Where can I find in the Torah that Yitro converted? I did not understand him to have converted, he chose to not accept Moses plea and even when he was offered abundance? He chose his people...descendants later (Kenites) helped the Jewish army and some were taken to convert and become teachers and sages, later even marry into the priesthood . But it doesnt say he converted, where can I find it? Thanks
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RabbiAbrams



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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:43 am

Hi--

Parshat Yitro kind of hints that Yitro converted, but it is never stated, nor spelled out. There are many Midrashim, but remember that Midrashim are just made up stories to fill in what the Torah does not specifically say.

As for Talmud, who is teaching you? In which language are you studying?? and my last question, why would you believe that Talmud is as important as Torah??? What makes YOU believe this????
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:35 am

Well its important because there is so much wisdom, logic, history, discussions, insight and oral traditions. It is something internal, Talmud creates a greater elevation. I do not read Hebrew but I trust the work of the countless Rabbi's, 25? years plus it took them to translate it in English. It was sevara that led me out of christianity, and Torah that united me to Hashem. I do not follow Kabalah, I appreciate some wisdom I found in it, I do not believe Torah or Mt. Sinai is a metaphor, I believe in the 13 principles of faith and am learning the 13 hermeneutical principles or rules of interpretation of Torah . I am not a fast reader or a great mind, I do have studies with my husband and webex studies with Rabbi's on Academy of Shem at my Noahide Nations website. I am taking a class on webex with Rabbi Joel Zeff from Israel on the subjects on how to break down the books, Talmud, and other Jewish writings. As a Noahide, I very much (can't speak for all Noahides) that oral laws/traditions were before, during and after the Written Law of Moses. The Written Law of Moses is an eternal "vehicle" between man and Gd, but Talmud creates a relationship/covenant with Gd, it is consumed through logic, and internalized.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:11 am

BTW Why do you ask? I don't understand peoples concern towards Talmud, it is difficult to understand at times but the more you study Torah or Talmud the more you draw closer to Hashem. I know to be careful because some things can and have been misinterpreted and caused harm. We do not study to cause harm but to be better human beings, to reach further into our minds and soul and ponder on the vastness of Hashem's wisdom and love for His creations. We are in awe of Him. I don't know why we have such a drive to study both Torah and Talmud, I am constantly in prayer, or pondering what I have learned. I do not always agree with the Sages, or Rabbinical decrees, but the reasoning behind it, how majority rules, how things turned out good or bad, just the discussions even on how an ally can be a private or public domain by the height of the enrty gate arch, if there is three sides, etc. can a person see it sitting or standing, can it be as high as the temple doors etc. It seems tidious but it is fascinating how they go back and forth, then come up with a majority vote. Its just pretty neat and sometimes I cry because I can't believe some rulings. But I learn and although it may not be someting I need to know, I still glean from it. Torah is the same way, for example the sons of Korah. There are some that feel Mt. Sinai did not happen that its a metaphor, in Psalms I read poems written by sons of Korah who repented and fell on a cliff and climbed out when Hashem opened the earth and consumed the family and those who opposed Moses. To me I was so excited to learn about the history of Korah and that some survived to tell the story. To me a metaphor does not write psalms, but people do,,,so yes Mt. Sanai did happen because Torah said it did. Torah is the final authority to any law or way of life.
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RabbiAbrams



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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:10 pm

I am confused. Are you a convert to Judaism? Thinking about converting?? What is Noahide in 2012???

Being Jewish is NOT about sitting and studying Talmud. It is about living a Torah way of life and that, believe it or not, does not necessarily mean studying Talmud. In fact, in my opinion, if you are not studying with a RELIABLE teacher, all it will do is confuse you and skew your priorities right out of real life.

We live in 2012. We need to live in 2012. We are not in 18th Century Poland or in the times of Moses.

I would LOVE to see you sit in on a real Talmud lesson at a Yeshiva in Brooklyn or Jerusalem and see how people "TEACHING EACH OTHER AND LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER treat each other - with total disrespect and venom. From yelling to d screaming to fist fights over what this word "really means" or why this letter is larger than that one, or whatever.

Did you read about the Charedi man who spat on a seven year old girl because her clothes were not "frum enough"? Are THESE the people that you want to become like?

Better to place your energy in DOING acts of g'milut chesed (loving kindness), and not simply studying them.

Just my $02.

--Rabbi A

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:32 pm

Bee, perhaps if you give Rabbi Abrams a little bit of your background history is will be helpful?
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:36 pm

RabbiAbrams wrote:

In fact, in my opinion, if you are not studying with a RELIABLE teacher, all it will do is confuse you and skew your priorities right out of real life.

I agree.

RabbiAbrams wrote:
We live in 2012. We need to live in 2012. We are not in 18th Century Poland or in the times of Moses.

I agree here too.

RabbiAbrams wrote:
I would LOVE to see you sit in on a real Talmud lesson at a Yeshiva in Brooklyn or Jerusalem and see how people "TEACHING EACH OTHER AND LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER treat each other - with total disrespect and venom. From yelling to screaming to fist fights over what this word "really means" or why this letter is larger than that one, or whatever.

I think I'd cry. Razz

RabbiAbrams wrote:
Did you read about the Charedi man who spat on a seven year old girl because her clothes were not "frum enough"? Are THESE the people that you want to become like?

Well now, that's not forget these people don't speak for everyone sitting in a Yeshiva studying Talmud all day, everyday.

RabbiAbrams wrote:
Better to place your energy in DOING acts of g'milut chesed (loving kindness), and not simply studying them.

If studying doesn't lead to good behavior then I would say the study was all in vain. I'm sure some would disagree but that is my opinion.

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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 pm

Good behaviour leads to better behaviour.

It is all inherent within oneself.

Studying Talmud will NOT make someone a good person. Being a good person will.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:00 pm

What defines a good person? I thought I was until I learned about Lashon hora. I was amharetz and now learning on my potential as a human being. I praise Hashem for you and many others who were born good, but I am learning to and the Hebrew scriptures shed light on my innards that decay my soul. I come from a pagan upbringing, going to shul will not change me but logic and reasoning, studying Torah and the great Sages have and as long as I draw closer to Hashem the better I can make a positive contribution to this world, one merit at a time.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:48 pm

Dena wrote:
Bee, perhaps if you give Rabbi Abrams a little bit of your background history is will be helpful?

I guess you are not familiar with Bnei Noach, or that we have an established court system by the head nasi of the Sanhedrin -Rabbi Steinsaltz ? My husband and I did our proclamation in from of the beit dim as Noahides where our Rabbi Hollander is head of the Sanhedrin of the Noachide court under Steinsaltz.(Not Chabad) We are studying and living Torah before we consider conversion. At first we couldn't wait to convert, but realize we didn't know much and did not want to jump in based on emotion, we had to strip down our former way of thinking. I feel when we do convert it will be so that we can be part of and contribute to the Nation of Israel and not solely based on religion. This July will be officially a year since we left Christianity.
In regards to Talmud, you have such strong feelings. It was never supposed to be written but changing and progressing with the times. How I feel about Charedim does not affect the treasure hidden in the Talmud. The Talmud is vast in subject matter, (Torah is not the subject right now and it is never in question as to how priceless it is) but I'm surprised on your views. As a Rabbi where do you draw your wisdom from, or how do you know how to teach without oral laws and traditions? How do you celebrate Holidays or advise your community based on Torah? Torah is ancient but relevant, so is Talmud. Talmud is not all about Law interpretations, or Rabbinic decrees, or community or agricultural laws for Israel. History repeats itself, and the Talmud doesn't hide the mistakes or triumphs, but hopes that the future generations draw wisdom from it. What would the world be like without Akiva, Hillel, Rashi, Rambam, and today Chofetz Chaim or Steinsaltz? The Talmud shows their lives, contributions, arguments and death. In Deuteronomy 17:8-13 the Torah talks about the Sages, Levites, Judges, Kohanim of our times and how to deal with those who go against the Sanhedrin's rulings. (Many oral laws were given aside from the written to Moses and Joshua) The Torah gives the Sanhedrin the authority, Talmud is a record of those rulings and a record of the historical events that lead to them and the Sages who fought for a majority vote. I find them interesting and insightful. That doesn't mean I am a Haredim or that the Shulcan Aruch is my pillow, I find many rulings repulsive but I am nobody to say anything against the logic of their time.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:36 pm

You know, I think it's funny . . . I was taught that the Shulchan Aruch better be your pillow as a convert by my Orthodox teachers.

Bee, I read the Daf Yomi as supplied by DafYomi.org daily and everything you say above is true, though sometimes it's like "blah blah blah" or . . . what was the passage about dolphins being mermaids? It's hard for me to accept Rabbinical Torah as infallible and unchanging with passages like that and it's hard for me to see Orthodox converts not have the same kind of demand in belief that I had to swallow the pill completely.

As for your lashon hora thing - you can still be a good person and sin. Avoiding loshan hora is hard to do - we use it as a way of socially bonding and it's a natural protection in society. Rising above is maybe something you're just not ready to do (or, as I like to say, may not be wired to do).
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:00 am

maculated wrote:
You know, I think it's funny . . . I was taught that the Shulchan Aruch better be your pillow as a convert by my Orthodox teachers.

Bee, I read the Daf Yomi as supplied by DafYomi.org daily and everything you say above is true, though sometimes it's like "blah blah blah" or . . . what was the passage about dolphins being mermaids? It's hard for me to accept Rabbinical Torah as infallible and unchanging with passages like that and it's hard for me to see Orthodox converts not have the same kind of demand in belief that I had to swallow the pill completely.

As for your lashon hora thing - you can still be a good person and sin. Avoiding loshan hora is hard to do - we use it as a way of socially bonding and it's a natural protection in society. Rising above is maybe something you're just not ready to do (or, as I like to say, may not be wired to do).

Lol Maculated, the RabbiAbrams asked me why "I" personally read Talmud, and I answered it honestly on my feelings about it. If you ask me how I feel about Torah and I would be more passionate about it because its the heart of my being. Many don't study Talmud or want to, which its ok, and I even come across converts who no longer accept the Torah as truth but a bunch of stories and gone into secular philosophy. I don't know much about the spectrum of beliefs in Judaism, I just know my own path and understanding. I am still struggling with why the whole change of attitudes towards woman, modesty, the 3 year old girl and a day in the shulcan aruch which is Not Ok, arguments if a woman can or cannot wear a basket over her head in her courtyard or an ally way is ridiculous...but...to strongly oppose the Talmud is silly to me because the Talmud has a vast subject matter. What are the Jewish people doing to change the Rabbinical laws that havent changed for centuries? Why is the Shulchan Aruch still unchanged? Why is there no unification for progress?
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:04 am

Maculated, is the DafYomi.org in english? I can't read Hebrew text.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:08 am

Quote :
...but...to strongly oppose the Talmud is silly to me because the Talmud has a vast subject matter.

No-one is opposing the Talmud.. What I think a number of people here are concerned about is your approach to Talmud. You need to be learning with a teacher that can guide you through things in a methodical way. I just don't see how it's possible to truly embrace Judaism without being among other Jews; learning and study are fascinating and important, but I think if this is really a life-changing matter for you and your husband, then you should make it a priority to look for ways to move closer to a Jewish community.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:34 am

Sorry, wrong website. This one is in English: http://www.dafnotes.com/

And actually, the basket wearing isn't really ridiculous if you look at it from the right perspective - which is literally learning to look at it from the right perspective.

I do agree with ESF that one needs a learned teacher that *they respect* as a guide with Judaism learning rather than going to the core text itself. A solid knowledge of background of things is so important.

Also, you asked what are the Jewish people doing about change? They're all doing something, even those who claim that it hasn't changed. A really good book (but one I couldn't read in the current frame of mine I was in) is Evolving Halacha. It explores how Orthodox perspective has evolved along with everything else. The problem is, once there had to be a line in the sand with the Enlightenment, that's where Orthodox drew it - no new interpretations. Though I have seen plenty of neat writings by the modern Orthodox lately that challenges this narrow view of what Orthodoxy is. This site is a great example: http://morethodoxy.org/
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:09 am

The question was from Rabbi Abrams on why "I" study Talmud but I will answer the other comments:
I may not live in a Jewish community, even if I did, how will that change my "approach", its always evolving just like learning the principle of gezerah shavah. When I read the Torah it comes alive. It will always be that way because I will always read and study it. One day I will completely have the thirteen hermeneutical principles embedded in my way of study but that takes time. I have Rabbi's that guide me, unfortunately that time is limited, they are all Orthodox btw, but I agree that I should live near a community and Gd willing it will be soon. Lets say we move to one, we will still be reading it and asking the Rabbi questions. How different is that than now? I can see where everyone is coming from but have any of you read a tractate? It is extremely difficult at first then it gets better. We have a plethora of resources, diagrams, lectures, books, Rabbi's, and study material on how to study the Talmud, Torah, and everything under the sun. I think we have had this conversation before. My husband has attended Talmud study groups at a shul, and when asked, he gives some insight to the Scholar on the subject. Many Rabbi's or Talmud scholar, even a Chabad Rabbi, who talk to my husband are surprised at his deep knowledge and also that I am his study partner. Please consider that there are some people who do get it without attending a Yeshiva.
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PostSubject: Re: Ask a Rabbi~   Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:14 am

Oh baby, have I read a tractate or two. :) It takes a looooooooooong time. :)

I do, of course, agree that some people get it. But I do think, as a professor of literature, that there is always more than just the text that needs to be transmitted.
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