My family suffered a great loss with the passing of my grandfather almost 2 years ago. Since then, some members of the family have found great comfort and solace in consulting with a psychic medium to get messages from 'the other side'. The psychic is often very accurate and it is chilling how the messages are able to come through.
I worry though what the Jewish perspective is on this all. Does Judaism believe in this practice at all? Is there any harm to her or to ourselves?
Death does not end a relationship. It just changes the mode of contact. The Torah specifies ways that we can connect to souls on high, and ways that we shouldn't.
We are forbidden to call upon them through mediums, not because it doesn't work, but because it's simply not nice. We should not disturb their rest. There is a reason that souls move on to higher places - that is where they belong. By using spiritual tactics to communicate with them we drag them back down here, and impede their journey upwards.
But there are gentle ways of connecting with the departed without disturbing them. If we visit their grave, it is like leaving a message in their supernal inbox. They will get it. And they may even respond, in their own way. But we mustn't force it.
More than that, we can send them love packages. Every time we do something good in their memory - an act of charity, a prayer, kaddish, or any mitzvah that is done in honour of their soul - this gives them a spiritual lift, and eases the elevation of their soul to higher places of rest.
I am sure the family would rather elevate your grandfather's soul than drag it down. It is not worth the temporary solace it may provide if it means harming the soul of a loved one. So they should rather honour him by doing more good. That will benefit the doer, the receiver and the soul of your grandfather.
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Question of the Week:
How can we know 100% that the Torah is true and that G-d exists. I feel that I cannot accept a religion without evidence. Is there any proof of G-d and Torah?
Imagine you could do a blood test to determine who your soulmate is. You would go to a laboratory with a prospective partner and give blood samples, and half an hour later they would tell you whether you will live happily ever after, or better move on.
Sounds amazing? But think about it. Is that an ideal way to start a relationship? It certainly would save a lot of time. But how romantic does this sound: "Listen, the blood test came out positive, so I guess we may as well get engaged."
The truth is we wouldn't appreciate a laboratory-tested soulmate. What makes a relationship meaningful is that it is a choice coming from within. If we based a commitment on external evidence such as a blood test, we would indeed have certainty, but the sense of freedom would be lost. Freedom is an essential ingredient of true love. Certainty is not.
That's why proving G-d is not helpful. G-d wants us to enter into a relationship with Him by choice, not by force. He created us as free beings who can deny Him if we want. He created a world in which His existence can be debated. There is no outside force or argument or proof that compels us to serve G-d. For that reason, when we do serve Him, it is by choice, it is coming from us, and that is the basis for a real relationship.
There are indeed many logical proofs of G-d's existence and the truth of Torah. But most people are only ready to appreciate these proofs after they have already established a relationship with G-d, just as most people only recognise their soulmate after they have already committed to the relationship.
If you wait to know for sure that you have found your soulmate you may forever remain single. And if you wait for proof of G-d's truth you may forever live in a lonely universe. Embrace uncertainty and open yourself up to a relationship based on choice. Just like you can find love, you can find G-d.
Kids program...........6:30pm with Morah Rivka Leah
Teen boys program...6:30pm with Mendel and Avrohom
Followed by Kiddush sponsored by Todd Gothelf in honour of the Yorzheit of his late father Ira Gothelf, Yisrael ben Benjamin on 22 Cheshvan/ Saturday 11 November- Long Life.
Shabbos Day, 11 November 2017 | 22 Cheshvan
In depth Parsha Class........... 9:00am
Shabbos Service................. 10:00 am-12:15pm
Teen boys davening..............10:30am
Kiddush sponsored by Aviva Morris in honour of the 2nd yorzheit for her late mother, Vidya Wati - May her memory be a blessing.
Mincha followed by Seudah Shlishis ... 7:15pm
Gematria and story by Rev Amzalak... 7:35pm
Shiur with Rabbi Moss...................... 7:55pm
Shabbos ends and Maariv................. 8:13pm
Followed by Havdalah
Latest Shema this week... 9:11am
MAZAL TOV TO
Dale & Tal Levin on the birth of their son Jack Wolf!
Daniel & Monique Krochmalik on the birth of their son Rafael David!
Larry & Ashlyn Diamond on the birth of a baby boy!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO
Michelle & Jeremy Saunders... 23 Cheshvan/ Sun 12 Nov
Jess & Joji Kurosaki................26 Cheshvan/ Wed 15 Nov
Peter & Richelle Goldshaft...... 28 Cheshvan/ Fri 17 Nov
LONG LIFE TO
Todd Gothelf for his late father Ira Gothelf
Yisrael ben Benjamin. 22 Cheshvan/ Saturday 11 Nov
Eva Schlesinger for her late mother Ilona Gold
Aidel bat Shlomo Hacohen 28 Cheshvan /Friday 17 Nov
Anne Sarzin for her late husband Dr Barney Sarzin, Dov ben Zwi on 23 Cheshvan/ Sunday 12 Nov; late aunt Elise Kaplan, Elisheva bat Harav Avraham Halevi on 27 Cheshvan/ Thurs 16 Nov, late uncle Dr Isidore Kaplan on 27 Cheshvan/ Thurs 16 Nov and late sister Fanny Faye, Feige bay Aaron halevi on 28 Cheshvan/ Friday 17 November
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Question of the Week:
I received the following anonymous question exactly as presented here, unedited and in the original:
im not a jew but we have somthin the jews might like to buy of us. it is a
scrol made of deers leather with hebru writing on it, i do not no anything
about this religous item and was wondering if you and your jewish
community would be interisted in this, if yes get back in contuct. i have
evidence of this item and was wondering who to turn to if i would like to
sale such an item. thank you
I didn't get a good feeling from this question. It seems this guy has found or probably stolen a Mezuzah. It is a holy object, and if he throws it away or defaces it, that would be a serious desecration of G-d's name. On the other hand, Jewish law forbids paying too much to redeem a holy object, as it will only encourage more theft. So I needed to come up with a way to encourage the return of the scroll without overpaying.
Here's my response:
The scroll that you are holding is a ticking time bomb.
It has little monetary value, as it cannot be used anymore. At most you may get a few dollars for it.
But it is a holy object. It has power. The highest power. And if it is mistreated it brings bad luck. Have you noticed a few things have gone wrong since you got it? As long as it is not in its rightful place, it is dangerous.
For your own safety, I suggest you immediately put the scroll in a plastic bag and tie up the bag. Then look for a house with a similar scroll affixed to the doorpost, and leave the bag in the mailbox.
I wish you only blessing, once you return the scroll.
Do you agree with my response? Can you suggest a better one? I'd love to hear....
Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 39:7 (not to overpay)
Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 423:2 (stolen Mezuzah can't be used)
Sefer Shmiras Haguf Vehanefesh 216 (dangerous to mishandle a Mezuzah)
SHABBOS SERVICES Friday, 3 November 2017 | 14 Cheshvan 5778 Candle Lighting ...7:07pm (Not before 6:04pm) Mincha ...............6:15pm Shabbos Service ..6:30-7:20pm Followed by Kiddush sponsored by Rabbi Sufrin in honour of his birthday - Mazel tov!
Shabbos Day, 4 November 2017 | 15 Cheshvan In depth Parsha Class ...9:00am Shabbos Service ..........10:00 am-12:15pm Followed by Communal Lunch sponsored by Aron Kleinlehrer in honour of the yortzheit of his late wife Helen Kleinlehrer (Esther Bat Yaacov) on 12 Cheshvan- Long Life.
Mincha followed by Seudah Shlishis ....6:50pm Gematria and story by Rev Amzalak....7:10pm Shiur with Rabbi Moss ......................7:30pm Shabbos ends and Maariv ..................7:52pm Followed by Havdalah