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Rabbi Marc Gellman


>Q: Paul's contention that the "New Covenant" essentially replaces the "Old Covenant" with the Old Testament Hebrews seems to fly in the face of Jesus' statement that he was here not to abolish but to fulfill the law of the prophets. Did Jesus intend to say that all the Old Testament laws (Leviticus, Ten Commandments, etc.) still apply in full?– P., River Bend, N.C. A: I'v…

I've received many questions about the Ten Commandments over the years, and I always try to indicate that the numbering of the commandments differs depending on the religious tradition.Recently, I referred to the commandment, "Thou shalt not murder," as a better translation than the King James Version Bible's "Thou shalt not kill." I also said that it's either comm…

Q: If God loves all of His creatures, why did He create a fierce life situation where to remain healthy His creatures must (kill and) eat other living things?-- N., West Babylon, NY A: One of the reasons I love the Bible is that it teaches us on many levels how to do the right thing. There's a low-level teaching for most ethical problems in the Bible which shows u…

Dear Readers: You're not the only ones who ask me questions. Here are some queries from students in the sixth grade of our religious school. Tell your kids to write to me and I'll answer them, too, one of these days.-- Rabbi Gellman Q: What's your idea of a perfect person? -- Lauren Fogel A: The prophet Micah asked God the same question, and God told him that al…

Q: I'm a 66-year-old Lutheran. I have a sound religious faith and have always had a strong interest in learning from reading the Bible. What I've never understood is our concept of God the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I don't know to whom I should pray. I would rather just pray to God. If we're to pray only to God, though, why all this talk about the ot…

>Q: I was raised in and still practice the Catholic faith. After high school in 1962, I enlisted in the U.S. Army, as I felt I needed to give back to my country some of what it had given me. Lo and behold, in late 1965, I was sent to Vietnam for just over a year. I was in combat and did kill some troops who were our enemies.In light of this, will I ever go to hea…

Q: Attending Catholic school as a child, I remember being bothered by the story of Abraham being tested by God. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, up to Him. Once God saw that Abraham was willing to do what He asked, God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac. It was only when I became an adult that the story made sense to me. God only asked Abraham …

For Christians and Jews, all of our religious holidays divide us except for Passover and Easter. Passover and Easter divide us by bringing us closer together. Let me try to explain this exquisite spiritual contradiction.Passover and Easter are different in that Passover, as theologian Martin Buber has written, is celebrated by a meal eaten for God, while Easter i…

Q: I'm a fortysomething male raised as a Catholic. I was generally made to attend Mass on Sundays until I was confirmed. I've been happily married for 16 years and have a wonderful 10-year-old daughter who we're raising as a Catholic. All of this would lead one to assume that I'm a person of faith, or even somewhat religious. Yet, I have no faith.I've always beli…

Q: I saw a T-shirt recently that described various religions' basic beliefs digested into one sentence for each faith. Why not commit a column to the similarities and differences among the various beliefs? A paragraph on each would be enlightening. Keep up the good work, or the God work, if that's more appropriate.-- D. A: As co-author (with Father Tom Hartman) of…

Q: My question is about heaven, and in particular the belief that we're united in heaven with the souls of our departed relatives. My late wife of 59 years had a father who was a sadistic pedophile. Not only did he destroy her self-confidence but also her idea of marital life. She confided to me that she tolerated sex only because she wanted to be a mother -- and…

Q: There's a feast day in Catholicism at the end of September (29th) for three saints who are also angels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. I've been taught that these are three of the seven archangels. Do you know the names of the other four? I also pray to my personal guardian angel, but I don't know his name, either.-- M., Long Island A: The Big Three archangels…

Q: What, precisely, did God do on the 7th Day? I like to rest, too, but staring at a blank computer screen all day gets old, at least for me.-- J., Cary, N.C. A: As I've often said, I'm in sales, not management. I don't know what God did on the first Sabbath. The Bible teaches that God rested, but what can resting mean for a perfect, all powerful, all knowi…

I wish I could reply to every email I receive, but time works against that. I do respond to a few emails, however, and today I'd like to focus on a recent e-debate with Dr. P., a physician from Gainesville, Fla. His comments are typical of many I've received following recent columns on free will and suffering.Dr. P. wrote: "Your column on the problem of evil fails …

Q: I was especially drawn to your reflections on suffering and God's love for us. Could you expand on the insight/revelation regarding suffering as redemptive for us?-- D., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. A: Thank you for your comments -- and thank you to the many other readers who offered kind words about my recent column on the suffering of the righteous. You and o…