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What is the origin of the Golem story?

Q. What is the origin of the Golem story?

A. The Talmud tells us: that Rava created a man through the Sefer Yetzirah and sent him to Rabbi Zeira. The latter tried speaking to him and when there was no response (because the power of speech, a function of the soul, is limited to God’s creation) he declared: “You are a product of our colleague. Return to your dust!” (Sanhedrin 65b)

This is not the only anecdote; there are other stories ...

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Pop Kabbalah and the other forms of McMysticism

Q. I recently started reading about other religions to find one that suits me and came upon Kabbalah. I started reading about it (through the most accessible books to find by Yehuda Berg) and started digging the whole thing he was selling. I liked the theories presented in his books and I agreed with the fact that the Bible was never meant to be something lived by so literally. Not to mention many of the other things talked about in ...

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Why aren't religious Jews generally unconcerned with whether there is an afterlife or not?

Q. Why aren’t religious Jews generally unconcerned with whether there is an afterlife or not? Don’t they care what is going to happen to their souls when they die?

A. In general, the Torah does not want us to preoccupy ourselves with questions pertaining to the existence of an afterlife. Living the holy life is more important than dreaming about an ethereal life that awaits us beyond this ephemeral world of existence. The Torah’s comments here are significant:

The secret things ...

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Questions with regard to the afterlife.

Q My cousin said to me that when we pass away, we automatically go to heaven. I have searched the Talmud and cannot seem to find anything like that at all. Would you please tell me where I can find this or any reference to us going to heaven?

A It seems to me your grandfather was referring to a famous Mishnah found in the beginning of the 10th chapter of Sanhedrin, which states:

All Israel have a portion in the ...

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Please explain the difference between Tanya and Zohar?

Q. Please explain the difference between Tanya and Zohar?

A. The Zohar (The Book of Splendor) is the central book in the literature of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah). It is attributed to Shimon bar Yoh’ai, a second century Tanna, but modern scholarship has concluded beyond any shade of doubt, that the Zohar was compiled in Spain during thirteenth-century.

Citations from the Zohar first appeared in Kabbalistic writings after 1280, and analysis of the book’s terminology and prose style shows that its real author ...

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