Oral Law

Dear Rabbi Simon, I was wondering, is it true that the Talmud (which I understand contains the Jewish law) was written down after 0 AD, and that the Jewish law practiced by the Prophet Elisha for example was never written down but he followed the orally preserved Talmud and Jewish law? Thanks Ali *** Dear Ali Thank you for your…

War with Hamas & Noachide Laws

Dear Rabbi Simon, Would you please be able to answer a question to a non-Jew about the seven Noahide laws? Firstly, I believe these laws to be true and would bring peace and harmony to the world. I am a believer in non-violence and anti-war. I believe ‘thou shall not kill’. And all killing, if it is done when your…

Age Ranges in the Torah

Dear Rabbi Simon, I was wondering what is the significance of the different age ranges that the Torah addresses in the course of the book of Bamidbar (Numbers). Last week, the Levi’im were considered for service from ages 20 to 50. The previous week, the Levi’im were counted but only from ages 30 to 50. This week only the people…

Events of Mount Sinai (Parashat Yitro)

Dear Rabbi Simon I’m struggling to understand Exodus Chapter 20 and the events at Mount Sinai. I’d appreciate guidance on this subject to help me better understand the text. My issue comes from the shift from the 1st person to the 3rd person being used – I’ve used the Chabad English online torah as reference. I notice that vv. 2-6…

Different Versions of the Torah

Note: I suspect that this (anonymised) question via our website was posed by a Christian critic of Judaism. We share it here partly in the spirit of “know how to answer the heretic”. Dear Rabbi Simon Deut. 4:2 says, “You shall not add anything to or take anything away from it, but keep the commandments of the LORD your GOD…

Parshanut (Biblical Interpretation)

Dear Rabbi Simon If someone gives me an interpretation of a posuk (biblical verse), how do I know if it is correct? I am not referring to a specific posuk but generally. Many thanks, Marsha Dear Marsha, Thank you for your interesting question. It is well-known that there are multiple facets to the Torah (70 in the Talmudic reckoning), so there…

Biblical Meditation

Dear Rabbi Simon Are there any specific examples of meditation among biblical personalities? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Ed Dear Ed, Thank you for your question. Many commentators regard meditation as a propaedeutic to and potentially a means of achieving prophecy. In this view, the great prophets would have practiced meditation as a means of achieving prophetic inspiration. For…

Number Crunching

The Parashah BaMidbar describes a detailed census of the Jewish People one year after the Exodus. Here is a related Q&A. Dear Rabbi Simon Regarding Parashat Bamidbar and Shavuot, I had a question on the number of people during Yetziat Mitzraim (the Exodus). The numbers we most find is that 600K men over the age of 20 (and under 60)…

Hebrew Slaves

Dear Rabbi Simon, Can you please explain why in Ancient Israel Hebrew slaves were freed in the 7th year (Exodus 21: 2, Deuteronomy 15:12-18) but Gentile slaves were not freed (Leviticus 25: 44-46)? Many thanks, Salvador Dear Salvador As is well-known, slavery was de regueur in the ancient world, and servitude was generally for life. Indeed, it was passed down…

Biblical Elders of Israel

Dear Rabbi Simon, I was wondering, besides Abraham & Moses, what are the names of others that would be considered “elders”? Many thanks, Danny Dear Danny, Thank you for your question. I am not certain of the context of your question, but if you refer to the Elders of Israel mentioned in Ex. 4:29, it would seem that we do not know…

Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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