The God Squad: When your number is up

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Rabbi Gellman, is it God’s decision as to when our time is up? Does he have it written in the heavens what the date is? I’ve heard many times about “when your number is up” that God has chosen that time when you’re born.

Your answer will decide a discussion. – (From C)

A: Thanks, dear C, for bringing up one of the top five ...Read more

The God Squad: Burial vs. cremation continued

Religion / God Squad /

Q: In your recent analysis of burial vs. cremation, you wrote that it has become less common for relatives to visit the graves of their loved ones. What a shame! I always have felt that I was doing the respectful thing when I visited my grandparents’ graves. As a child, I knew how important it was to my parents that we visit their parents’ ...Read more

The God Squad: The silver trumpets

Religion / God Squad /

Every Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana (which this year begins Friday night Sept. 15), I send out a severe abbreviation of my sermon to my congregants of Temple Beth Torah, This year may we all be inscribed for blessing in the Book of Life.


We read about the silver trumpets in the Book of ...Read more

The God Squad: Who do I thank for my blessings?

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Morning, Rabbi Marc, bless you and your day, and THANK YOU for all your wonderful, comforting wisdom over the years! My question for you always bothers me! I need to know when God gives me a request, a blessing, a help I didn't expect, who do I THANK?

Sometimes it is a small thing like getting the bathroom cleaned, is that my angel who ...Read more

The God Squad: Is organized religion the source of the world’s problems?

Religion / God Squad /

I asked you, dear readers, to answer this question, “How would you answer a person who says that organized religion is the source of the world’s problems?”

Here are some parts of your wonderful answers:

“The obvious reply is to point out most of the heinous evil perpetrated on mankind by the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ivan the ...Read more

The God Squad: My search for a Tommy replacement

Religion / God Squad /

Thank you and bless you, my dear readers, for allowing me to flip the script on you. Normally, I am the one to give you advice. This time, I asked you to give me advice. I told you that after Father Tom’s death six years ago I am finally considering bringing on a new partner for The God Squad. Here are the results of your wisdom so far:

...Read more

The God Squad: More on organ donations

Religion / God Squad /

Thanks, dear readers, for responding to my appeal for organ donations as a spiritually transcendent act. There are more than 100,000 people waiting for transplants in the U.S., and 60 percent are from marginalized communities, according to the Health Resources and Service Administration. healthandspirit/religion/godsquad/s-2866715">Read more

The God Squad: A replacement for Tommy

Religion / God Squad /

My best friend and partner in the God Squad died on Feb. 16, 2016 and every second of every minute since then I have thought of him and loved him and missed him.

During the early years after his death the idea of replacing Tommy with a new God Squad partner seemed to me like a betrayal, even though he was gone. I felt very much ...Read more

The God Squad: Take my liver, please

Religion / God Squad /

I am getting bored with the cremation vs. in-ground burial debate we have been having these past few weeks because it has mainly become an argument about money…

Q: You refer to the “few hundred dollars” a family can scrape together. May I respectfully advise you, we are discussing the “few big thousands of dollars.” Big difference.”...Read more

The God Squad: Still trying to bury the cremation debate…

Religion / God Squad /

Writing this column for almost three decades with, and now without, my pal Father Tom Hartman has been a life-changing opportunity to teach and to learn. One of the main things I have learned is that with every opinion I state I run the risk of hurting the feelings of a dear reader. My defense of in-ground burial has been widely supported by my ...Read more

The God Squad: ‘Thou shalt not cream thy parents’

Religion / God Squad /

I am enjoying the flood of emails on the cremation controversy (or if you prefer, “Turning Mom into Mulch.” However, I still do not understand what is driving the pro-cremation point of view. Since “follow the money” has always seemed to me a prudent investigatory strategy, perhaps it is true that cremation is significantly cheaper than ...Read more

The God Squad: Turning Mom into mulch

Religion / God Squad /

My column last week defending in-ground burial definitely touched a spiritual nerve among many of my dear readers. Most were appreciative of my full-throated defense of traditional Jewish and Christian in-ground burial practices.

Q: Dear Rabbi Gellman, Is cremation more acceptable nowadays? I was taught in the Jewish religion if you are buried...Read more

The God Squad: Dust to ashes, not dust to dust

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I am a woman 74 years young, brought up in a Jewish home. I do not go to the synagogue for holidays but celebrate in my own way at home. I have always tried to share holidays and traditions with my now teenage grandchild. I have recently begun to think about cremation. I have read about what my religion believes about cremation. I believe ...Read more

The God Squad: More little miracles

Religion / God Squad /

Q: Every heartbeat, all 110,000 each day is a modern miracle. Meeting your spouse for the first time is a modern miracle. Each time a car accident is averted is a modern miracle. Finding relatives you never knew you had is a modern miracle. Considering the thousands of years they have sustained us, our sacraments are modern miracles. That�...Read more

The God Squad: Modern miracles?

Religion / God Squad /

Q: You have written about Passover and Easter miracles, citing the plagues of Egypt, the splitting of the Red Sea, and (for Christians) the resurrection of Jesus. One might add that we witness small miracles every day -- in a sunrise, the spontaneous healing of a child, or a sudden unexplainable turn of events.

I have often ...Read more

The God Squad: I don’t need God

Religion / God Squad /

Q: I would like your advice on how to explain to family and friends that I do not relate to or use the term “God.” The main reason is so many people use the term to mean “God” is a person. They speak of “he” or “his” or “him” as if “God” were a person, and a male person at that.

I believe that much of life is out of our...Read more



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