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Dear Rabbi, Who is a Rabbi? Does it require a degree like becoming a doctor? A bit of historical background would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Looking at the basis for our covenant with G-d, I noticed G-d said to Avraham (Bereshit 17:1): “Walk before Me”, which is sometimes understood to mean: “Serve Me”. And also (Bereshit 17:9): “You shall keep My covenant”. Afterwards G-d Himself says regarding this, in Bereshit 26:5, that Avraham obeyed the Voice of the Almighty and indeed kept it. I noticed some similarities looking at the story of Mount Sinai. First G-d says (Shemot 19:5): “If you will obey My voice” and “keep My covenant”. The people response was: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient (i.e. we will obey and keep).” Secondly, I noticed G-d saying (Bereshit 17:7): “I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to thy G-d and to thy seed after thee.” While in Shemot 6:7 G-d promises that He will take them as His own people and that He will be their G-d. Many more similarities can be found. These covenants seems to be based on two principles. From G-d's side He makes certain promises, from the human side commitment and obedience is being asked. It all starts with acknowledging G-d, and accepting Him as G-d - but once we do this, it seems one needs to show obedience (we make ourselves avadim, to be His servants, and He promises to be our G-d). With obedience to seem to be such a big part of our covenant/relationship with G-d, why isn’t it the first commandment given (after getting to know G-d) at Mount Sinai? Isn’t serving/obedience to G-d the biggest mitzvah of them all? One that covers all other commandmens, one that enconpasses the entire range of what’s being asked of us? P.S. I’ve found a comment stating that all mitzvot are contained in the mitzvah of emunah, i.e. “Anochi HaShem Elohecha” (Maharsha Middos 23b). While I also think emunah (acknowledging and accepting G-d) is the main principle, it is shown by yirah, ahavah etc. but these and all what we do, our role in the covenantal relionship, is based on our given proclamation na’aseh v’nishma.

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I know a lot of people do it. But is it actually wrong or sinful to intentionally refuse to work for a parnassa and instead spend much of one’s time learning Torah if doing so puts a strain on one’s family or community?

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Tehillim 81:10 could be read as: “There shall be no strange god in you (Nit zol zeyn in dir Gott fremd)” Rabbi Avin said: “What is the meaning of that which is written? What ‘strange god’ is there inside the body of a person (i.e. within you)? You must say – this is the Tempter, the Yetzer HaRah [the human inclination to be distracted/led away from G-d] – Shabat 105b. Rabbi Avin explains that the service of strange gods in actual practice starts with the service of the strange god within the person himself… This means that an idol-worshipper is called “the evil inclination.” [It follows that when speaking of a single body, then idol-worshipping, which is called “a foreign god” or “a strange god,” is entirely within man]. So here are my questions: 1. Why is the evil inclination compared to a foreign/strange god? 2. Also, what is the connection between idolatry and the evil inclination? 3. And why is it assumed that both come from or occur within man?

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Dear Rabbi Can angels appear in the shape of animals, such as a dog or cat or goat? Regards Gary

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Abraham was the 1st Jew. When did Abraham first receive the Jewish soul? At the time of birth? Or when he find out the only living God, HaShem?

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Is there a belief in predestination in Judaism, i.e. was Joseph predestined to go Egypt? A related question would then be did God arrange all the events of Joseph’s life or did God just take advantage of events that took place?

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Is there a belief in predestination (not Calvinism) in Judaism? For example, was Joseph predestined to go Egypt? A related question is: Did God arrange all the events of Joseph life or did God just take advantage of the events that took place?