Ask me anything (almost) about Judaism


It’s an interesting take on the statement by Maimonides regarding the permanence of Purim. It seems that this one holiday keeps G-d more hidden than the others, and therefore it will forever be relevant as an indication of trusting G-d without His “showing his hand.” Purim is not regarded as a major holiday in Judaism, compared to Passover and, most important, the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Still, the other major holidays are more overt with respect to G-d’s participation, and so, it seems, during the end days when G-d’s plan is accomplished, they will no longer be needed compared to Purim, which is more of a test of faith.


Thanks @meltzerboy2. Even a particle of meat would render a vegetarian meal non-vegetarian too. For this reason, I do use a separate sponge when hand-washing a dish that has had meat on it.

I imagine that when these rules began, people didn’t have access to hot running water and dish detergent, so extra precautions were needed. I’m glad there’s a way of koshering a non-kosher dish because not everyone would be able to afford to own two of everything.


How is suicide and group suicide viewed in Judaism? I’m thinking of the Masada mass suicide where people kill their families to avoid being Roman hostages and then the last person has to commit suicide


As is often the case in Judaism, the answer to this interesting question is not exactly black or white. Normally, suicide is forbidden and against Jewish Law except in instances when the situation would otherwise result in idolatry, murder, or sexual immorality. Euthanasia in cases of terminal illness is strictly forbidden in Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism. However, the way suicide is defined is open to some debate since many rabbis have required that the person who commits suicide must be of sound mind. This means that those who suffer from mental illness such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and the like, and take their own lives, are not legally committing suicide. With regard to the Masada mass suicide, although their bravery and martyrdom in the face of Roman occupation have been commended, on a legal level, their committing suicide and murder is not permitted.


Are there Jews who want to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem?


Yes I thought so as I recall reading about the quorum of all places in Marvel’s X-Men comics when young where a Jewish friend of one of the characters passes on. Strange bits of trivia about all sort of faiths, politics and history were quite common in that era in comics and you would find bizarre bits of historical or scientific information flooding the pages at times. The Waltons is a bit unreal, my aunt’s family are pretty close but even they squabble more than the Waltons. Still the show did handle matters of faith in a way that at least tried to show that we should approach each other’s traditions respectfully even if it was a bit over-earnest about it at times.


Out of utmost respect, I would like to use this opportunity to ask my question:

I used to write down my sins on a piece of paper in preparation for confession. This helps me both spiritually and psychologically as a Catholic.

I have read somewhere of people of other religions practicing a similar exercise of writing down one’s sins. Have you heard of this before?

I think psychological problems, can sometimes be worse than physical ailments, so that’s why I am asking the question.


Substances such as wood, metal and clay absorb the taste of the food that is prepared in them. Therefore, we would not use the same pot to cook meat and milk, even if cleaned with hot water and soap in between. We are concerned that in subsequent cooking, some of the opposite taste will be released into the cooked food.
Other substances, such as glass, don’t really absorb flavor but we separate them anyway so as not to mix things up or be concerned that they weren’t totally cleaned. There are lots of rules and I’m not an expert on all the reasoning, but that’s the general idea. Things like two sinks are not strictly necessary but again, help keep things simple and easy so you can keep kosher without being an expert on the finer points. We just have separate “everything” for meat and milk, even drinking glasses.


The truth is there is a concept of nullification, so if a tiny bit of one substance got mixed with the other, in many cases it would be ruled kosher after the fact.


Is it true that the prohibition against mixing milk and meat is based on only one verse in the Hebrew Bible, and that some rabbinical interpretations (not Orthodox ones, I’m sure) argue that the prohibition is a misapplication or misunderstanding of that verse?


Funny I just acquired a Marvel credit card even though I know next to nothing about the action heroes. I guess the Waltons is as close to the ideal extended family as possible.


How widespread is belief in “tikkun,” which seems to be a form of reincarnation?


I think you might be thinking of gilgulim.


Both ideas seem to derive from Luria’s work. To what extent they overlap I don’t know. I hope @meltzerboy2 and @moses613 will enlighten us.


The Waltons is one of the many TV shows that went on past its prime. The first 5 seasons or so are a bit more rooted in reality. Once many of the key actors had bowed out for fear of type casting it should have been cancelled but people will milk things in any medium to the last drop. It dealt with Judaism several times in it’s run, eventually one of the sons married a Jewish girl he met during his time in the armed forces. Nicely handled by having her befuddled at the son accidentally revealing she was Jewish after been invited for dinner and the family having limited exposure to Jew kind of bit bemused at what this might entail.

As to comics, the whole history of DC and Marvel is bound up very much with the Jewish populace of New York and some other areas. There have been some works written that touch on that but none that I feel really gets to the heart of that. Even in later years when there were people from all sorts of backgrounds working in the industry some of the major names were still Jewish. Stan Lee of course who is still with us, although very elderly, is one of the last surviving examples of the Jewish comic book creators of the Golden Age of comics. Christ Claremont who I didn’t even realize was Jewish when reading his work as a kid was instrumental in shaping many a teen’s views and you could do worse. For all that he was a bit fond of purple prose his attempts to present different religious points of view respectfully was head and shoulders over what is seen on the page in the industry nowadays many a time.


Yeshu ben Pantera was not Jesus of Nazareth.


There are three separate verses in different places in the Torah that all say the same thing - “You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” As with all repetitions in the Torah, the Rabbis find this to be highly significant and learn from it three things: the prohibitions to eat, cook and derive benefit from meat and milk of kosher animals cooked together. The phraseology of “kid” and “its mother’s milk” is simply the most extreme example of this prohibition, either because of its appearance of cynical cruelty or perhaps because it was a specific practice of idolaters, or even because it was most common to make meat/milk dishes from soft, younger animals - but the Torah is read to include all meat and all milk of domesticated animals. Although we translate גדי/g’di as “kid”, which in English implies a baby goat, the Talmud proves that in the Torah, it can refer in general to the young of any domesticated livestock (goat, sheep or cow), because in another context the Torah specifically mentioned “g’di `izzim” - a “kid of goats” as opposed to the “kid” of another domesticated animal.
As far as whether others interpret it differently, I assume anyone who does not accept the reliability and authority of the Talmud, as we do, will interpret it as he likes. I don’t know of specific examples.

Update: To clarify, although the Torah only forbids the meat and milk of sheep, goats and cows, the Rabbis also forbade mixing milk and meat of kosher wild animals such as deer and buffalo, as well as milk with chicken, to avoid mistakes. (Milk w/eggs is ok.)


Gilgulim, the return of the soul to another body for a second life, is a concept found in works far predating R. Yitzhak Luria, including those of R. Moshe b. Nachman/Nachmanides. Today, mainstream Orthodox Jews believe in this phenomenon, but as it’s not an article of faith and it’s not mentioned explicitly in the Talmud, you will find more than a few mavericks who reject the existence of gilgulim and, indeed, cite early authorities like R. Saadia Gaon who also rejected them.
As far as tikkun, this is a word with a very broad meaning (“rectification”) that can imply several different kabbalistic concepts, none of which I am qualified to discuss.


I just heard about Reconstructionist Judaism. God is a “force” not a person?

How is that different from atheism?


I have nothing to ask, but just want to thank you for starting this thread and sharing your knowledge.

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