• The Rabbi's Essays

    A TELLING TALE. Insights into Hillel’s Golden Rule

    A TELLING TALE Insights into Hillel’s Golden Rule (1986) Shammai and Hillel One of the most familiar of all anecdotes in the Talmud relates of the gentile who came to the Sages Shammai and Hillel with the preposterous request that he be made a proselyte “while I stand on one foot” Shammai, who was renowned for not suffering fools gladly, showed his visitor the door in none too gentle a fashion. When the same man came before ever-patient Hillel with an identical request, the Sage immediately agreed, replying: “What is hateful to you, don’t do to your friend (da’alach s’nei le-chavrach,la ta’aveid). This is the entire Torah; the rest is…

  • Acute Angels Series

    ACUTE ANGLES: Cremation – The Ulimate Abuse

    ACUTE ANGLES Real Questions on Jewish Thought Answered An Occasional Series – 50 By Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM Cremation – The Ultimate Abuse Dear Rabbi. My elderly mother is lying in hospital, unconscious. The doctors say it is only a matter of days before she succumbs. In her last lucid moments, she declared to my two brothers and me that she wishes to be cremated. This had never been discussed before. We are secular Jews, but I know enough about Judaism to know that cremation is not the Jewish way. My brothers feel we must honour our mother’s request – after all isn’t “honour thy mother” one of the Ten…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    WHY MOSHE – A New Essay for Parshat Bo

    WHY MOSHE ? A New Essay by Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM …Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt in the eyes of the servants of Pharaoh and in the eyes of the people (Exodus 11:3) Midrash Raba (Vayyikra 1:3), partly based on I Chron. 4:18, lists ten names for the man of whom the Torah testifies “never has there arisen a prophet like [him]”(Deut 34:10). They are: Yered, Heber, Yekutiel, Avigdor, Avi-Sokho, Avi-Zanoakh, Tuvia, Shemaya Ben Natan’el, Levi and Moshe. (Other Midrashim also cite the names Heiman and Michokek.) The Midrash concludes: Said G-D to Moses: As you live, out of all those names, I…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    WHY ARE WE JEWISH?

    A Two-Part Essay by Rabbi Chaim Ingram – 1 If I am I because I am Iand you are you because you are youthen I am I and you are you.But if I am I because you are youand you are you because I am Ithen I am not I and you are not you(R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotsk  1787-1859) Note: Some may find ideas contained within this essay challenging and confronting, others may find them exciting and liberating. I am happy as always to receive feedback and to debate these issues with anyone who would like to engage. Prologue Last year, a survey of Australian Jewry (Gen17) was commissioned…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    VAYAKHEL. Don’t Be A Bystander

    DON’T BE A BYSTANDER! A New Essay on Vayakhel by Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (and women) do nothing (authorship uncertain.) A Second Honeymoon This week’s sidra opens with Moses assembling the whole nation. According to all our major commentators, it occurred on what we now know as 11th Tishri, the day after Yom Kippur. I still recall Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovitz zl quipping, at a rabbinic conference, that any rabbi can summon his flock on Yom Kippur but only a Moses can assemble three million people the day after! The previous day, Moses had successfully brought down…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    THEIR WAY IS NOT OUR WAY! – A Perspective on Justice in Judaism

    THEIR WAY IS NOT OUR WAY! A Perspective on Justice in Judaism A New Essay by Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM This upcoming week’s Sidra, Mishpatim, affords us the first in-depth exploration into the Jewish concept of justice. Several more will follow in the Torah, notably in the sidra of Kedoshim in Sefer Vayyikra and in the sidrot of Shoftim and Ki Teitsei in Sefer Devarim. The principle of equality of status for all classes in society – master and servant, rich and poor, man and woman, born Jew and convert, parented and orphaned, wife and widow – suffuses our parasha. Indeed, the concept of reverse-discrimination, such a feature of our…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    THE TEN ABANDONMENTS. Confronting a World Which Has Jettisoned G-D

    THE TEN ABANDONMENTS Confronting a World Which Has Jettisoned G-D Epilogue Decalogue? On 19th May 2022, the NSW Upper House formally passed the so-called “Assisted Dying” (actually assisted-suicide) Bill (against the advice of both major state party leaders). In so doing they joined every other State in Australia in proclaiming that life is no longer sacred and G-D is no longer its custodian. Next week on Shavuot we shall be celebrating the Revelation on Mount Sinai. We shall be reading the Aseret HaDibrot, the Ten Commandments which were heard and affirmed by our ancestors numbering some three million souls. These Commandments came to form the bedrock of Western society. Now…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    SHO’A AND THANKFULNESS – ARE THEY CONFLICTING CONCEPTS

    SHO’A AND THANKFULNESS – ARE THEY CONFLICTING CONCEPTS? A New Essay by Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM Seeking Light Amid the Darkness The Nazi Holocaust (in Hebrew Sho’a – catastrophe) which saw the systematic slaughter of one-third of the Jewish nation – the word “decimate” which means “to reduce by one-tenth” cruelly mocks the heinous extent of our losses – in an evil scheme of attempted genocide, was indisputably the most heinous, brutal and monstrous war crime to have been committed in human history. So why am I about to talk about the Sho’a in the same breath as thanksgiving? Because Hitler y.sh failed miserably in what he set out to…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    SHAVUOT SPECIAL: ARE WE NOAH OR ARE WE ABRAHAM

    ARE WE NOAH? OR ARE WE ABRAHAM? by Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM A Unique Transition In the third month (which we call Sivan) of the year 2448 from the creation of Adam – marking 500 years since the birth of Avraham Avinu – the nation of Israel passed from being “children of Noah” (like the rest of the world) to being “children of Abraham”. After all, Abraham was the first man to anticipate G-D’s Torah and observe it centuries in advance of it being given (see Gen 26:5). If one were to pinpoint the exact moment of the transition it would appear to be when Moses heard the entire nation…

  • The Rabbi's Essays

    PRAYER FOR AN END TO THE CORONAVIRUS

    PRAYER FOR AN END TO COVID-19 Composed by Rabbi Chaim Ingram OAM and endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of NSW Alm-ghty G-D, we thank You for every new day of life and for all the kindnesses You daily bestow upon us. Help us O G-D to combat and surmount the challenging times in which we find ourselves. G-D, You have the power to do as You please and the perfect knowledge to do as You see fit. There is no one among all Your works above or below that can say to you “What are You doing?” Let us search and examine our ways and return to You. Master of…