From Questions to Answers, From Egypt to Sinai

created at: 2014-04-20Passover is a holiday of questions. Who are the heroes of the story? What does it mean to be Jewish? How can we help build a free society today? These are important questions! There are also immediate, practical questions—about Passover and Jewish life more broadly. Why four glasses of wine? What are some contemporary Shabbat practices? What percentage of my income should I give to charity?

At Ask A Rabbi, we connect your questions with local congregational rabbis who write personal replies. As the Passover holiday comes to a close, please take a moment and share your questions with us. Submitting your own question is a great way to mark the end of the eight days of the holiday.

This is the ideal time to celebrate Jewish learning and pluralism. There are 49 days between Passover, the exodus from Egypt, and Shavuot, which commemorates the revelation of Torah at Mount Sinai. At Sinai, tradition teaches, each person heard the Torah in a unique way. So at Ask A Rabbi, we are seeking questions from people across the community, which we will match up with rabbis of every denomination.

The journey from Egypt to Sinai celebrates freedom, community and diversity. This reflection on pluralism and learning, from one of our readers, could not be more apt:

“I like that the column shares with us different perspectives about important life questions from a variety of Jewish rabbinical leaders. In life, most of us only have a few rabbis we can ask, and this column virtually expands the realm of possibilities.”

Another reader recently asked for advice about which translation of Hebrew Scriptures to use, which coincidentally fits the season of preparing for Shavuot. Rabbi Daniel Berman of Temple Reyim offered a response that went beyond the basics. The reader reflected:

“I liked that it provided context and background as opposed to merely listing a [translation] title and leaving it at that. For someone who knows very little about Judaism, it helped add a few more strokes to the painting that is my understanding of Judaism. I also appreciated that it provided recommendations for seeking out a learning partnership. That is not something I would have thought of.”

created at: 2014-04-20So here we are, once again on the journey from Egypt to Sinai, from questions to a diversity of answers. Join the conversation, and share your questions!

David Fisher is’s Ask A Rabbi consultant and part-time community manager.

You can browse the archive of Ask A Rabbi columns here and submit your own question here.

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