Question
I borrowed a book from an acquaintance several months ago. She was not a super close friend, just someone who worked at a store I popped into a lot who I used to chat with. I have no contact info for her because my only contact was seeing her in this store I used to visit. She did not specify when she wanted it back, just that she wanted me to return it someday. Without warning, the store closed. Now I have no way to contact or even find her. All I know is her first name, which is a very common female name in the English language. It is unknown to me who owned the store or how to make connections. I asked around, but this is in a big impersonal city where seemingly most people don’t know or care about each other. I don’t know what to do now from a standpoint of ethics or Jewish law.

Question
Dear Rabbi, Is there any Halacha that forbids strictly religious Jews from socializing or even returning greetings (such as “hello” or “good Shabbos”) to less observant Jews? Well, many people who live in our community apparently believe there is. My wife and I are Orthodox Jews, just not in the same way as most of the Orthodox Jews of our community. We don’t appear outwardly religious. I am not a full-time kippah wearer and I never wear black hats. My wife wears short sleeves and pants and shorts a lot of the time and doesn’t cover her hair. Both of us wear T-shirts and jeans most of the time. We are members of a shul that has a low mechitza and where most people drive there on Shabbos and are fully accepted, although we walk there. We keep kosher, but we don’t follow strictness like Cholov Yisroel, for example. We enjoy a lot of secular entertainment. Most of our close friends are non-religious Jews. The street we live on has mostly those who are supposedly more religious than we are. We try to be friendly with them. We consider them our fellow Jews, even though they are different. And they ostracize us over these differences. They return greetings like “hello” and “good Shabbos” with silence and sometimes dirty looks as if we invaded their personal space. The only time any of them make conversation with us is when they are angry about something, such as when our 2-year-old wanders into one of their yards. One time when that happened, I told the guy “you are my fellow Jew. You should be nice to me.” He just walked away with a mean look. I once took a shiur when I was growing up in which the rabbi said it is a mitzvah to say hello to another. And if someone says hello to you and you do not return the greeting, it is as if you have robbed that person. The rabbi said this as if it applies to everyone you greet or who greets you, no strings attached. I was highly influenced by what I learned. I am wondering what you think as a rabbi. I know you might tell me that I should just become like all my neighbors and the problem will be solved. But that’s not who we are, and if we ever became that way, it would all be for show and would not be in our hearts. My question is, are there Jews who are so religious that they consider it permitted and maybe even required to play deaf to a fellow Jew’s greetings or any attempts to socialize? And is there any basis for such behavior in Torah law?

Question
In Isaiah 11:1 we read: “But a rod shall grow out of the stump of Jesse, A Branch shall sprout from his stock.” 1. Who are the "rod" and the "branch"? 2. Which of the commentators has explained in detail about these two words? And what was their commentary?

Question
If someone becomes sick with covid within a few days before the wedding of a close family member (such as one’s sibling or child), and they are likely contagious and risk spreading it to others at the time of the wedding, would it be permitted to attend the wedding, if the risk of someone there catching it is high, but the risk of someone dying if they catch it is statistically very low?

Question
i understand that when moshiach will arrive it will be the fruition of dir betachtonim but i wondering what will be the point of the jewish people then? or what will be the point of torah and mitzvot after the arrival of moshiach? once it is accomplished what we need to accomplish then that's it? if it would be possible please include sources in your answer.

Question
I’ve always understood one is not supposed to waste food according to Jewish law (with destroying chametz before Passover being an obvious exception). What is one supposed to do with old food that is still safely edible, but of a diminished quality that almost no human (or animal) is interested in consuming?

Question
I have had intrusive thoughts over the years and I have felt very guilty for them. I have become more religious lately and for a year now (of being more religious) haven’t had such thoughts. The past few days I started having bad thoughts again and I’m wondering if it is Satan causing me this. How can I stop these thoughts? Does Hashem still love me?