Rabbi, I have a problem

Is dancing with the Sefer on Simchat Torah over the top?

October 1, 2015

Question: My wife has a thing against Simchat Torah and doesn't like coming to shul. She thinks the dancing has got over-the-top and become a kind of Torah worship. Is this just English reserve or does she have a point?


If my wife is in a coma, can I have a relationship with someone else?

August 30, 2015

Question: My wife has been in a vegetative state for the past two years following a serious illness and doctors believe it highly unlikely that she will recover. I visit her regularly, but have my own needs. Would it be adultery if I were to have a relationship with someone else?


Should I try to dissuade someone from going to a faith healer?

July 30, 2015

Question: A relative of mine with a serious illness has started going to a faith healer. But I am sceptical about such practices and believe I ought to dissuade her, even though the healer does not ask for any money. Does Judaism have any objections — after all, there are examples of healing in the Bible.


Can I use Skype to form a virtual minyan?

July 3, 2015

Question:I have a very small, scattered family and do not know many Jews locally. If we have a shivah and lack a minyan, could we ask relatives and friends to Skype in and form a virtual minyan?


Isn't it better to cut the service rather than rush through the Hebrew?

May 28, 2015

Question: Our shul recently started speeding up its services but I am finding it increasingly hard to follow the Hebrew. Would it not make more sense to abridge the service but take the prayers more slowly than gabble through them?


Should I have objected to the visitor whose son brought a colouring book to shul on Shabbat?

April 23, 2015

Question: A visitor recently came to shul on Shabbat for a barmitzvah with his young son. When he sat down, he pulled out a book and some crayons and the boy quietly started colouring. I didn’t object because I didn’t want to embarrass them. But should I have said something to the wardens?


Should we skip Biblical passages like wiping out the Amalekites?

March 5, 2015

Question: We have just read on Purim about Haman’s attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. But our own Torah carries injunctions to destroy the Amalekites and other tribes which are hard to digest. Isn't it time that we stopped publicly reading such passages in synagogue?


Should we have our son's barmitzvah in Israel?

February 5, 2015

Question: We had our heart set in having our son's barmitzvah in Israel even if we could not
have such a big simchah. Unfortunately two of his grandparents might not well enough to travel - and
we are torn between abandoning the original plan or going ahead.


Can my son learn about other faiths at school?

January 2, 2015

Question: If Jewish schools are forced to teach about another faith as well as Judaism for GCSE religious studies, as the government wants, should my son opt for another subject instead, such as biblical Hebrew?


Is it wrong to avoid Israeli produce during the sabbatical year?

December 4, 2014

Question: I have heard that some people will not buy produce from Israel because of the shmittah (sabbatical) year. But since there is a concerted boycott campaign against Israel, shouldn’t we do everything we can to buy Israeli goods and encourage others to do so?