Q: Forty years ago I took a course on what happened to be my last week in the convent after 11 years living in that life. The course was titled "The Exodus Experience in the Consciousness of Christ." During the one-week class we were assigned to journal on our life experience. My "exodus" reality was so profound that I transitioned from ...Read more
My dad, Sol Gellman, died 10 years ago near Father's Day. I think of him often but always on his birthday, and always on the day he died and always on Father's Day. In honor of all fathers, alive or alive with God, I offer my present memories of my memories 10 years ago. I offer these words so that you, dear readers...Read more
Q: Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well "God is spirit." (John 4.24) Does Judaism agree that God is spirit/breath? How would you describe spirit? I know what spirit is not: physical, material, visible, etc. After years of pondering, I still am trying to learn more about what spirit is, and by "spirit" I do not mean the Holy Spirit. For ...Read more
We have come to a spiritual traffic jam this week. The Muslim world just celebrated the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, while the Jewish world celebrated the holiday of Shavuot, and on Sunday the Christian world celebrates the holiday of Pentecost. Let's untangle the jam, beginning with Shavuot and ...Read more
This Monday is Memorial Day and it is one of America's greatest civil religious holidays along with July 4th and Thanksgiving, and like both of them often sacrifices its true spiritual meaning to the food and festivities we Americans are always ready to engage in instead of going to work. This ...Read more
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)
This verse in Leviticus is the specific biblical verse that commands us to respect old people. Oddly, it comes immediately after the command by God in Leviticus 19:31 not to consult with wizards! The verse is ...Read more
It is my unproven but firm belief that the level of our love for God is precisely equal to the love we have for our mothers. From our mothers and from God we learn that we are not alone and that we are loved. From our mothers and from God we learn that what we accomplish in life is so much less important than how we behave in life. From our ...Read more
Some years ago my dear wife Betty told me that we had not produced enough children. When I came to from fainting she told me that she would be happy if our new child was a dog. But a working dog -- a guide dog for the blind. I wanted to run out and get a guide dog immediately before she changed her mind.
What we then discovered was that guide ...Read more
Northkill (Northkill Amish)J. M. Hochstetler
Seeking freedom to live out their Anabaptist beliefs, Jakob Hochstetler and his family left Europe to settle in the Northkill Amish community on the Pennsylvania frontier. For 18 years they live at peace with their Indian neighbors. Then in 1757 they are drawn into the ...
Q: In your April 2 Newsday response to good vs. evil, you state there can be no good without evil as there is no sense if how we behave in life has no effect on what happens to us after death. I am always amazed at this religious belief as it completely discounts the benefit of goodness in life. I do not strive for personal ...Read more
Generally, a holiday has to be at least 2,000 years old for me to care about it. I have made an exception for Thanksgiving and Independence Day and Memorial Day but that's about it. I respect secretaries (don't we call them assistants now?), but I just can't bring myself to elevate Secretaries ...Read more
Every year in the winter (which here in LA is the shivering time of the year when the thermostats dip down to the low 70s) I deliver Hanukkah and Christmas blessings to you, my dear readers, and every springtime I offer Passover and Easter greetings. It is springtime. Last week I thought about Passover...Read more
Monday evening, April 10, begins the Jewish holiday of Passover, and April 16 is Easter Sunday.
This week I want to offer to my interpretation of one of the stories told in the Haggadah, which is the ritual script for the Passover meal called the Seder. It is the story told about four ...Read more
Q: Hello, Rabbi!
I'm not sure Hell is real. If God is so forgiving and loving, why would He want to punish "evil" people forever? I think that "bad" people are actually individuals who are suffering from mental illnesses or imbalances, and that we, and God, should have sympathy and compassion for them, and make allowances for their deeds. I ...Read more
Q: Just thought I would share a moment of faith.
I grew up in Memphis, Tenn., but retired to South Florida -- unofficially the southern-most boroughs of New York. Last week I attended a tour and luncheon at a South Florida museum with a wonderful collection of Broadway costumes. It was a great tour, and it gave me some insight regarding faith. ...Read more
I am thrilled and amazed and delighted and overcome!
I just received the following email,
I am Attorney and I contact you for a genuine business transaction which I want to entrust in your care. ... about my late client fund, (there) is nothing to worry about as everything is legal with documentations. Deposit valued ($8,500,000.00...Read more
Some spring cleaning items from the mailbox ...
My column on using BCE/CE rather than BC/AD brought in a ton of mail. Most were like this from T:
"Thank you, Rabbi Marc, for your insightful column the BC/AD controversy. In my mind it has always offended me, but your explanation is perfect. I shall no longer be offended and I'm gaining insight ...Read more
Q: Are there people who, for whatever reasons, simply cannot take the leap of faith? I have taken a year-long Bible study course I loved; I have attended churches. I neither believe nor disbelieve in God, but agnosticism is not satisfying. Atheism is, for me, absurd since it asserts what we cannot know, namely that God does not exist. I no ...Read more
Q: You've done it again. In your recent article on Temple history you again went politically correct and used the ultimate form of subtle bigotry against Christianity by changing history to suit secular society with the terms BCE and CE. How is it that something so significant happened 2,017 years ago that mankind started recording time with BC ...Read more