T Nation

Ask Moshe


I will be happy to answer questions about Judaism. Answers will be Orthodox to the best of my ability. I don't pretend to be a religious scholar.

I am not a Rabbi, although I am what is called a "Kohanim."

I am a soldier turned engineer turned lawyer and businessman who happens to have been born and raised in Israel and was born in (what would be called in the USA) a "Modern Orthodox" family, went to Yeshiva in Israel, and have been a member of various Hasidic shuls for decades, which I joined because my first wife (and second wife) were Hasidic.

Note, in order to keep this thread on topic:

  1. I won't answer questions about Christianity, or why Jewish folk don't think Yeshua from Nazareth is the Mosiach.

  2. Ditto re: the teachings of the Ishmaelite.

  3. Let's not make this a discussion about Zionism, the modern political state of Israel, the arabs in Judea/Sumeria or the like, except as it may relatet to religion.


Interesting...I am looking forward to this thread.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.


I would love to know your thoughts on Kabbalah, The Zohar, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, etc.

What relevance if any does it play in modern Judaism?

I became interested many years ago after having read a description of the creation of the Universe according to Kabbalah. Very beautiful in function and vision. Read many volumes on the subject, some good, others bad.

Eventually bought the complete Volume of the Zohar in both Hebrew and English translation. It was like reading something a fish wrote. I could not find my footing anywhere and quit reading, but the twenty plus bound volumes look beautiful up on my bookshelves.

In short, what I know about Kabbalah is what others wrote or told me. I was never able to go to the source documents and gain anything for myself.

What say you?


Well, jumping into that is like jumping into particle physics when you are just learning to add and subtract. Traditionally, Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, were traditionally not even taught to people until the age of 40, when they had completed their education in Torah and Talmud. It's very dense and confusing and NOT the place to start.

VERY briefly, it's not exactly "cannonical." Lots of people think it's nonsense.

Some of it is probably true, but the very best lies often have a fair amount of truth in them, and it takes a lot of knowledge, experience, and candidly divine help, to discern the bullshit.

I have not studied it, except on the surface.

In the Middle Ages, it became very cool for non-Jewish people delve into it and mix it with other religions, which really made a mess of things.

Almost all the modern stuff written about it is pure unadulterated crap.

If I was going to study it, and did not have a personal tutor, I would use this:



I would STRONGLY encourage you to not start any sort of study in this area. It's pretty much a guaranteed path to frustration and confusion for anyone other than a Jewish person who has a very solid grasp on basic Judaism, both by living as a Jew and studying Judaism.


Is there anything in Jewish theology that you disagree with?


Also which one are you in this vid?


My pleasure. Now ask a non-hyper-obscure, non-thread-killing, question.


The questions is so overbroad I wouldn't know where to start. What specific do you have in mind?


The one having sex with your mother, girlfriend, and/or sister.


If you have a serious question, ask it.


First cool thread.

A couple of questions.

  1. What are the teachings of the Ishmaelite? ( So we know what we cannot ask about haha )

  2. Whats a Kohanim? Does it mean you are descendent from the priest class of the ancient Israel?

  3. Does Judaism has a concept of heaven and hell like Christianity and Islam has?

Sorry if this questions are dumb, but I know very little about Judaism.


Just finished reading "The Fight For Jerusalem" and have gotten more interested in the Jewish faith. Where would you recommend starting? I have read the old testament several times, and am pretty familiar with it already.


Well when I talk to most Christians here I find a lot of them have one or two stances that veers away from the standard religious viewpoint.

My question is, is there a belief that most Hasidic jews share that you personally don't follow or disagree with?

To give you an example of what I mean, pat is catholic but isn't against all forms of birth control. Push is an evangelical and lives a swinging lifestyle.

I can't really be anymore specific than that, I don't know much about Judaism.


As a more specific question, I was told one of the reasons Jews lack a "great commission" because what they do is intended for the benefit and reconciliation of all men, Jewish or otherwise. Is there truth to that, or are there other reasons why the Jewish faith doesn't emphasize conversion and recruitment the way other Abrahamic faiths do?


Islam. (Mohammed was an arab, and thus a descedant of Ishmael. Hence, he is an "Ishmaelite.")

Correct. I am of the tribe of Levi, sub-set Kohanim. (As are most people with the name "Cohen" or the like.) They actually did a genetic study about this, which tied in with the tradition, following the Y-Chromosome. It shows with have a common male ancestor circa 3500 years ago. If you believe the Torah, that common male grand-pa would be Aaron, Moses' brother.

Belief in the resurrection of the dead is a fundamental belief of traditional Judaism.

The resurrection of the dead will occur in the messianic age, the "Olam Ha Ba" or the "World to Come, which is effectively Heaven.

The wicked dead will not be resurrected and will be eternally seperated from G-d.

Seperation from G-d sounds a lot like "Hell" to me, but "Hell" (fire and brimstone) is a Greek concept, I think.

Some Hasidim believe resurrection is not a one-time event, but is an ongoing process.

They teach that the souls of the righteous are reborn in to continue the ongoing process of tikkun olam or mending of the world. Some sources indicate that reincarnation is common process, while others indicate that it only occurs in unusual circumstances, where the soul left unfinished business behind.

It is not a Jewish belief that one must be Jewish to have a place in the World to Come.

In fact, most people there won't be Jewish, just like they aren't Jewish here.

Your questions are fantastic and honest.


To answer your question, are you Jewish and not schooled, or not Jewish?


The new testament of the bible refers to a lake or furnace of fire, which I would assume, is where the imagery comes from.

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:41-42).


Not Jewish.


Jewish people do NOT seek converts because Jewish people do not believe non-Jewish people need to be Jewish to be the people G-d intended them to be.

Jewish people were selected to be priests, but other peoples have jobs to do.

There are two covenents in the Torah (well, two and a half): (1) Covenents of Adam/Noah and (2) Mt. Sinai.

Gentiles read the Torah, get bogged down in Leviticus (the Mt. Sinai convenent), and end up getting confused --- those laws and rules (while certainly educational and useful) are binding for Jewish people only.

Gentiles have their own laws: the laws of Noah.


1.Prohibition of Idolatry
2.Prohibition of Murder
3.Prohibition of Theft
4.Prohibition of Sexual immorality
5.Prohibition of Blasphemy
6.Prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive/animal cruelty
7.Establishment of fair courts of law/justice system/government


I guess my answer is "I don't know."

We don't have a definative Sanhedrin (there was an attempt in 2004 to re-establish one in Israel, but it is controversial itself) that can resolve all matters, so there are areas of dispute in many things.

That said, I certainly fall short of complying with the things I know about and agree on, so I don't really worry about the margins.


As a Gentile, I would recommend getting to understand your duties to G-d as a Gentile first.



FWIW, the Rambam (arguably the most respected Rabbi since the Diaspora), while he disagreed with key theological points of Christianity, considered Christianity to be a fine, ethical, and moral Noahadic religion.