Explore Your Judaism: HISTORICAL RESOURCE

1) Is it better to be an observant Reform Jew or an occasional Conservative one? Answer: It is better to be a better Jew! In other words: a Jew should never restrict him/herself to a human definition or movement. Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, these are names of movements. But a Jew is not a movement; he is a Jew chosen by G-d to represent Him in this world. Every Jew received the whole Torah at Sinai, and every Jew should at every moment try to fulfill as much of that Torah as he can. If today he was good, and tomorrow s/he has an opportunity to be better, by all means be better. What will be the next day? S/he will deal with that when it comes.So a Jew should simply strive to be better, rather than try to fit into a definiton. 2)Why do we blow the schofar at the end of the Yom Kippur service? Answer: To let people know that the fast is over and that it is permitted to eat and prepare for the festive meal that is eaten on the night after Yom Kippur. 3) What is the Jewish perspective on Human Rights? Answer: The Torah doesn't speak of rights, only of responsibilities. Through the Torah's responsibilities and obligations, human rights are protected. The difference is, that rights are self centered, and responsibilities are other centered. So the Ten Commandments, for example, prohibit murder, adultery, theft, lies and coveting. Those are responsibilities on you, but by default they protect others from you. This is conveyed not by telling you what you can expect, rather by telling you what is expected of you. 4) Whats the difference between the teachings of Chabad Chassidut and other chassidut? Answer: Chabad Chassidus tends to be more philosophical 5) Sephardim and Ashkenazim pronounce certain Hebrew letters differently. Which is the authentic way? Answer: All the different ways of pronouncing the Hebrew language are acceptable. 6) What is Shmittah? Answer: The Torah tells us "for six years you shall plant your fields... but in the seventh year the land should have complete rest, a Shabbat to G-d". G-d created the world and then created man to maintain and perfect it. Progress and production is a partnership between G-d and mankind. G-d provides the raw materials, mankind works, and then G-d blesses his effort. In a physical world caught up in materialism Man's work is quite evident, but in the rush and race for survival G-d's involvement often gets overlooked. Unless we make an effort to focus. To stop, step aside, and set a time for observation and introspection. Thus Shmittah is to agriculture what Shabbat is to the working life: a G-dly devised reminder of what it’s all really about. Every seventh day, we reorient: Shabbat. And every seventh year, we reaffirm: Shmittah. Like Shabbat, Shmittah is a Divine mandate for obligated rest, which follows a universal cycle. On the designated Shabbat day we retreat from work, and during the designated Shmittah year we retreat from our fields. 7) Who are Zionists? Answer: 'Zion' is another name (used very often in the Torah) for the Holy Land of Israel, which was given as a gift from G-d to the Jewish People. It serves eternally as the Jewish homeland, the location for the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our days), a key ingredient in myriads of Jewish laws, and the subject of many prayers. 8) Why is Israel called the Holy Land? Answer: In Judaism the term Holy is used for something that stands apart. Something that is different or designated.The land of Israel stands apart, is different, and designated. It is the land "of the book". It is the land that G-d considers gift-worthy. G-d has a different set of standards for this land. And beginning with a covenant made with Abraham, G-d clearly designated this land for the Jewish people.It is a Holy Land. 9) What is orlah? Answer: A Jew may not derive any benefit from the produce of a fruit tree for the first three years after it is planted.1 This rule applies even outside of Israel. Any fruit yielded by the tree in these three years is called "orlah" -- "blocked" (prohibited). n Temple times the fruit of the fourth year (or its value) was brought to Jerusalem and eaten there.2 The fruit of the fifth year (and on) were permitted for normal consumption. Nachmanides writes that trees in these formative years produce only an insignificant amount of low quality fruit. The first significant fruit of every tree -- the crop of the fourth year -- was brought to Jerusalem and eaten in sanctity as an expression of gratitude to G-d. It would be inappropriate to use the fruit for personal benefit before "inaugurating" the tree's fruit in Jerusalem. Outside of Israel, only definite orlah is forbidden. Any fruit which is safek orlah, there is doubt whether it is orlah or not, is permitted. In Israel, however, safek orlah is prohibited to this very day. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to ensure that any produce that comes from Israel is certified to be Kosher, and orlah free. 10) Why cant we see God? Answer: It is naturally impossible for the finite to see the infinite. For the finite to exist the infinite must be concealed.

Points Earned: 2