Ask the Rabbi with Rabbi Yitzhak Schochet..
Please provide encouragement
I’m getting wed in two months! After your recent observation about marriage and high divorce rates, I’m anxious. It’s certainly not something I can discuss with my future husband. Are there words of encouragement you can offer?
You’re marrying a man who, I assume, you feel love for – with a view to develop and nurture that love and commitment to be true to one another. The challenge is to never take your love or one another for granted. Be sure that you are communicating and sharing with each other your love, your concerns and feelings. Recognise the wonderful things your husband does for you. Thank him for being there and making you happy. You will find that the more you give and share, the more you will receive. And the more you receive of his love and affection, the more it will help strengthen your relationship and will help dispel with your fears. At the same time, remember a fundamental Jewish teaching: marriage has three partners: the husband, wife, and their Creator.
When both of you are aware that there is that third partner who created your souls to come together and who is a part of your marriage, then you have something greater holding your marriage together. Introducing a spiritual dynamic into your relationship is essential to ensure the stability of a good Jewish home. It also safeguards for the sake of future generations. Good luck on the marriage. Remember these words well, always, and you won’t become a national statistic.
Shofar so good another time?
If I miss the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah can I make it up any other time of the year?
I’ll list that in my book, Funny Questions Rabbis Get Asked. Were you thinking with some latkes on the side, or at the seder table? To be sure, if you missed the shofar because you were unwell or some other extenuating circumstance, then to all intent and purposes you were exempt from the mitzvah. If, however, you missed it because you were otherwise preoccupied… you snooze, you lose. Still, if you feel bad enough about it such that you won’t repeat the mistake again, then that should atone for your mishap. Just be sure to pick up and do those things the shofar might have inspired you to do and all will be forgiven. isn’t it too wet to sit in succah?
Dear Rabbi I know the weather’s been rather lovely in recent days, but a succah in Britain during autumn! Really? Clive Dear Clive Yes, really! Jewish life necessitates doing what is right, not what is easy. Stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone necessitates not waiting for the perfect moment. Just take a moment and make it perfect. And even if, after all is said and done, you lack the conviction to do great things, that’s also fine. Just do smaller things – but in a great way.
God is almighty and powerful
I have a theology question I need help answering: Can God make a stone he can’t pick up?
The answer is yes. And, nevertheless, He could still pick it up. Sounds paradoxical? Without getting into a detailed discussion about negative theology, let me say simply this: the question is not really a question at all. The reason God can make or create anything is because He is all-powerful – that is why He is called the Almighty. The idea that there is something He cannot do would mean that He is not all-powerful. Now let’s rephrase your question: “Is God so powerful that He can be not powerful?” “Is God so God-like that He cannot be God?” “Is He so Almighty that He cannot be Almighty?” The very question itself is an oxymoron. It’s self-contradictory. It would be like asking: “Can Einstein be so smart that he can be stupid?” Or: “Can someone be so honest that he can even lie?” Obviously, such questions make no sense. Similarly, the question: “Can God create a rock that He cannot lift?” is illogical.
Broiguses and simcha invites
I’m in the process of writing invitations for my son’s barmitzvah and have come across a problem. One side of the family has had a bit of a broigus with the other for a good 20 years. Neither myself or my parents are directly involved, so we have always been in the middle.
Obviously we would love to invite everyone, but I’m worried long-term differences will rise to the surface again and spoil our simcha. Should we invite just some of them – or none at all? Laura
Want to give your son a beautiful barmitzvah present? Invite all of them. They can choose whether to turn up. But your son will learn that in life you have to be bigger than the circumstances that surround you and always strive for harmony regardless.