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Ask the Rabbi - 160

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Ask the Rabbi

2 August 1997; Issue #160

  • Try it! You'll Like It!
  • Out of this World!
  • Lassie Goldberg?
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  • Try it! You'll Like It!


    P. C. Bruening from Germany wrote:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I would like to know where I can find this passage in the Talmud. I think the indication I found in the Internet is wrong or defective. "Rabbi Hezekiah the Kohen said in the name of Rav: A person is destined to give an accounting before the Heavenly Tribunal for everything he saw but did not enjoy, ignoring G-d's world which He meant for man's enjoyment."

    Dear P. C. Bruening,

    The source that you are looking for is the Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin Chapter 4 Halacha 12 (page 48, side b).

    The Talmud states that anyone who saw food and did not partake of it will, in the future, have to give an accounting of his actions.

    This statement means that when a person partakes of food he must make a blessing before he eats it. That blessing serves as a method to 'enhance' G-d's presence in this world. By choosing not to eat, a person is relinquishing the ability to praise G-d and His creation. Obviously, the Talmud is only referring to kosher food.

    The Jewish outlook on physical pleasure is very beautiful. We believe that G-d is kind, and therefore made a world full of pleasure for us to enjoy.


    • Pnei Moshe, commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud

    Out Of This World

    Jonah Wahrman wrote:

    Dear Rabbi,

    Tonight, July 3rd, on the Ted Koppel Nightline show, an interesting comment was made. The discussion concerned the supposed incident that took place in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico, where the claim is being made that a space ship crash landed that contained the bodies of extra-terrestrials. Two men were interviewed, one a believer in the space craft and one a former believer and a former commercial airplane pilot who is now a non-believer. Mr. Koppel made the statement that anyone who has religious faith would be a believer in the Roswell incident, as a belief in G-d is a belief in an extra-terrestrial being! An interesting concept. Any comments?

    Dear Jonah Wahrman,

    Mr. Koppel is making a major mistake, based on an extremely superficial comparison. He is confusing two totally different ideas. Belief in G-d is belief in an infinite, non-physical being, beyond time and space. He does not live within our reality, we live within His reality. Belief in extra-terrestrials is belief that there are finite, physical beings who live on other planets. Belief in God obviously does not mean belief that physical beings live on other planets, and vice versa.

    Lassie Goldberg

    Madeline Davis from Kenmore, NY, wrote:

    Dear Rabbi,

    I'm writing a story about a Jewish child who has adopted her first pet - a puppy. She asks her Sunday school teacher if Emily, her dog, is or can be Jewish? The teacher takes her to the Rabbi for an answer. The child loves Judaism and loves her dog. What can the Rabbi tell her about G-d's relationship to animals that will let her know that the dog is not Jewish, but is still loved by G-d? What Biblical references will explain this? Thanks for the help.

    Dear Madeline Davis,

    Perhaps the Rabbi should explain how G-d created the world and all the creatures in it. On the sixth day of the Creation, G-d created the animals "each according to its own kind" and "G-d saw that it was good." that "each according to its own kind" teaches that G-d gave each individual type of animal its own nature.

    Every one of G-d's creations has a reason for it's existence. To "make a dog Jewish" is removing the real identity that G-d wants it to have, just as if the dog tried to turn the little girl into a dog!

    By the way, Glynda Kramer sent us the following note:

    Here is a joke:

    Why did the dog bite the rabbi?

    Because he had no "mazel."

    (Isn't that a real "canine horror! [keninina hara]")


    • Genesis 1:24-25.
    • Mincha Belula, commentary on the Torah

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