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Ask the Rabbi - 240

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Ask the Rabbi

12 June 1999; Issue #240

Espousing Religion


Name@Withheld from Washington, DC wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

My husband and I would like to start a family. We are both in our mid-20's and Jewish. Our levels of Judaism and practice, however, are different. I am more observant (observe Shabbat, keep kosher, feel very connected to G-d). My husband, on the other hand, does not feel the same spirituality (he was not raised this way) and therefore does not place the same value on Judaic laws and customs. He makes an effort to stay home with me on Shabbat and keep kosher in the home - but this is more out of respect for me than his religious belief. Now that we are considering children I am realizing the implications this "conflict" could have on our family. I feel very alone and confused. Please help guide us in the right direction. Thank you so much.

Dear Name@Withheld,

Your situation is difficult, but not hopeless. The mother of the family usually sets the tone in the household, especially when it comes to Jewish practice. However, to raise children as committed Jews requires the efforts of your husband as well. You and your husband must discuss, frankly and respectfully, the problems that you envisage. Explain to him the confusion that the children will have, the inconsistencies in their outlook that will result from two opposed educational outlooks. Parents must be united in raising their children.

Try not to pressure your husband. Every step you take in Judaism, discuss with him. Make as little imposition as you can on him, and suggest to him the possibility of studying some Judaism on a regular basis.

Was Korach Revolting?


Sarah Walsh from New York, NY wrote:
Dear Rabbi

My name is Sarah, and my bat mitzvah portion is Korach from the book of Numbers, and I am having trouble understanding why Korach is a villain, if he was by birthright a priest? Does Korach have the right to question the leadership authority of Moses? If not, why not? Is rebellion necessarily bad?

Dear Sarah Walsh,

Actually Korach was by birth a Levite, and he was not content with that. He felt that he should get more honor and prestige. He created an entire rebellion, created hatred and arguments and divided the Jewish people - all for the sake of his honor, and his ego.

In addition, think of what Korach had witnessed in his life. He saw Moses lead the Jews out of Egypt, cross the Red Sea, bring down the mannah in the desert, and then Korach perceived/prophesied G-d speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai. So rebellion is bad when:

  • It is for the sake of ego and personal honor
  • It contravenes facts
  • It ignores basic moral ideas like gratitude

For further study may I suggest the commentary of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch on Korach.

Chicken Shrimp


Name@Withheld from Buffalo, NY wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Dear Rabbi,

Can one food be more non-kosher than another? Last week, a friend's family who eats a lot of pork and beef invited me over for dinner. They spent a great deal of time avoiding all pork products just for me. However, they didn't realize that I don't eat shellfish. I didn't have the heart to tell them, since they were being so kind to me, so I ate the food. My question is, is for example shrimp worse than non-koshered chicken, or is it just all or nothing?

Dear Name@Withheld,

I warmly applaud your efforts to observe kashrut, and I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal.

Regarding shrimp and non-kosher chicken, both are equally forbidden to eat; that is, you're not allowed to eat shrimp just as much as you're not allowed to eat unkosher chicken. After the fact, however, eating shrimp is worse, because shrimp comes under several categories of prohibitions. So, by eating shrimp one transgresses more prohibitions.

Kosher food purifies our soul, making it receptive to spirituality. So, just because you messed up one time, don't "chicken" out! No little "shrimp" can stop you from becoming a spiritual giant!

Wet Stone


Yitzchak Muskal wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I heard, lately, that water is pouring from the "Foundation Stone" on the Temple Mount. What is that all about? What can we learn from it? Is there any mention of this in our sources? By the way, a friend of mine from Kochav Yaakov told me of an Arab in preparation for conversion who went to see what it's all about - and confirmed it.

Aaron from Hebron, Kentucky wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

First, let me say that I am grateful to you for providing this forum for questions and answers. I understand that recently water has begun to spring up under the Temple Mount. What might be the possible significance of such an event?

Dear Yitzchak Muskal and Aaron,

In the Messianic era, says the Talmud, a trickle of water will begin flowing from the Holy Temple. This trickle will grow and grow until it becomes a gushing river. The Talmud cites a verse in Zechariah: "On that day a spring will be opened for the House of David and for the residents of Jerusalem." See also the book of Joel that: "And it will be on that day…a fountain shall issue from the House of the L-rd."

Maharsha explains that this river symbolizes King David's dynasty: Like a river flowing on and on, David's kingship will continue forever.

Now, according to recent reports, a "mysterious" trickle of water is rumored to have begun from under "the rock" in the Moslem "Dome of the Rock" mosque on the Temple Mount.

Even if true, this may or may not be significant.

For one, the Talmud very specifically details how the trickle will emerge from the Temple, yet it's doubtful that "the Dome of the Rock" is indeed built upon the Temple site. In "Beit Hamikdash Hashlishi," Rabbi Shalom Dov Steinberg brings strong evidence that it is not. Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, a leading Torah scholar of our day, agrees. Among other indications, electro-magnetic scans under the Temple mount reveal very deep hollows consistent with those described as having been under the Temple - these hollows however are not under the Dome of the Rock; rather they are under the clear, unbuilt section opposite the Western Wall. Interestingly, this fits with our tradition, recorded almost 2000 years ago in the Zohar, that no building will ever be built on the site of the Sanctuary except for the Temple!


  • Yoma 77b, 78a; Maharsha, ibid.
  • Zechariah 13:1; Yoel 4:18; see also Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zechariah 14:8
  • Responsa of Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch 3:39

Yiddle Riddle


I have before me two identical pots of milk. The pots contain identical amounts of pure, unadulterated milk from one animal. Yet, if two exactly identical pieces of meat from one animal fall, one into each pot, and accidentally get cooked, one mixture becomes forbidden to eat and to sell, while the other mixture becomes forbidden only to eat, but it remains permitted to sell. Why is this?

Answer Next Week

The Public Domain
Comments, quibbles, and reactions concerning previous "Ask-the-Rabbi" features.


Re: Marriage

A few weeks ago, I asked about Jewish wedding customs, their origin and meaning. I thanked you for your response, but had not had a chance to read the information that you sent to me. I have since read the information and I find the wedding ceremony to be very beautiful. I have made copies to give to the members of the wedding party and they were grateful to have a better understanding of what is going to happen. Thank you again so very much for adding understanding and beauty to this day.

(Meghan Sweet, Hastings College of the Law)

Thanks Meghan! Others who want to see what Meghan saw, go to

Re: Traditional Responsa

I was just reading about the yeshivot of Pumbedisa and Sura. Seems like your responsa are the continuation of a long tradition, albeit in a somewhat different media.

(Haiim, Brooklyn, New York)

Re: Taam Elyon (Ask the Rabbi #237):

You wrote that the special trop called ta'am elyon "breaks up the sentences in a different way, joining all Ten Commandments into one long sentence." Perhaps you meant to say "joining each of the Ten Commandments into one sentence?"

(Stanley Nachamie, JLE Israel Summer)

Ohrnet responds:

You are correct. We should have said that ta'am elyon makes each commandment into one verse. (See Chizkuni Shmot 20:2, see also Masat Binyamin chapter 6, Elya Rabbah 142:1, and Shulchan Aruch Harav 494:8.)

Re: One and Only:

Thank you, Ohrnet, for answering my past questions. Ohr Somayach is the only one of many "Ask the Rabbi" forums I have tried on the internet to consistently provide me with responses. Thank you again.

(Eli Lee, Bayport, New York)

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