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Answers to basic question on Judaism


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Sivan 17, 5777
1. Should the Jews and the place be perfectly clean to pray and read the Holy Torah? If so, why? 2. How do the Jewish men and women pray? 3.What are the differences and similarities of the 7 groups of Judaism? 4.Why the Holy Torah is written in Hebrew Language and it’s in a scroll? 5. Please give me the story of Moses? Even, when, where and why he was born and died? 6. Why do some Jewish men and women in the 7 groups wears yarmulke and head-scarf? Some don’t? Please explain.
1. Yes, out of respect, anyone who prays an official/regular prayer to God should be clean, and dress as if he is going to meet someone important, and pray in a clean place, and so it is regarding public reading of the Holy Torah. On the other hand, the Living Torah and Jewish law are very practical and adds that if one is in the middle of something [e.g. if one wants to simply speak to God and/or ask for His help in the middle of a challenge, or if sunset is approaching and he must stop his work for the afternoon prayer or if wishes to study Torah during a break at work or before going to sleep], he can pray and learn the Torah “as he is”. For our Father wants to hear from us, and knows that His children must work to make a living, and are active in normal life, participating in the world He created for that purpose. Yet even then, we don’t pray or learn Torah by an open bathroom or similar odor, and one must be at least minimally clothed. 2. Jewish men and women pray separately in the synagogue, with a separating partition between them. 3. I have never heard of “7 groups of Judaism”! There is one Torah and one Jewish people, and generally one accepted Jewish law, as codified in the Shulchan Aruch, and this is orthodox Judaism. If you are referring to certain synagogues, sects or Jews who may compromise on certain laws, they simply, by definition, are not following the law. 4. The Torah was given by God more than 3,000 years ago in Hebrew, and has been copied over and over, word for word, in that exact original language, which is spoken (obviously with modern modifications) by the Jewish people in Israel until this very day. Just as God created the world with Hebrew as the first language (e.g. Adam was named so because he was taken from the “Adama”= ground, in Hebrew), He always speaks to His prophets in that language. Just as we don’t dare change anything in the Torah, we don’t even change the kosher animal parchment/hide scroll which it’s written on. This approach insured the preservation of the original unchanging Torah, even thousands of years before the printing press eternalized the content for the rest of mankind. 5. Moses specialized in his humility, which enabled him to come especially close to God. The Torah was given through Moses to Israel 3,329 years ago, 2448 years after creation (=1312 BCE) when Moses was 80 years old. Accordingly, he was born in Egypt in the year 1392 BCE, and he died at the eastern outskirts of Israel, at the age of 120 in the year 1272 BCE. 6. Orthodox Jewish men wear small head coverings (yarmulke or kipa) at all times (except when sleeping, bathing, etc.), and a larger prayer shawl for morning prayers (in many places in Europe, the custom was only for married men to don this shawl). Married women, for whom modesty is that much more important, cover their hair all of the time outside the house (and even inside during prayer), whereas unmarried women, who can and should be attractive (not “attracting” or “distracting”!) for potential suitors, do not cover their hair.
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