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Scholars

Askmoses scholars are carefully selected to bring the best of Jewish knowledge to you. Each scholar studied Judaism, Jewish History, Jewish Culture and is a recognized communicator and teacher in his or her community. Many are world-class authors and lecturers as well as practicing rabbis. The scholars live all over the world and express their knowledge to you from their point of view, 24/6. Get to know our scholars by reading their backgrounds.


Rabbi Yossi Marcus

Rabbi Yossi Marcus, a native (southern) Californian, is a writer and translator of Jewish literature. He is a contributor to AskMoses.com, Kabbalaonline.org and Farbrengen Magazine. His most recent book is a new commentary on Ethics of our Fathers, published by Kehot. Rabbi Yossi is the director and spiritual leader of Chabad in S. Mateo, CA.


Articles by this author:

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Who was Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai?

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai lived about 1800 years ago in the land of Israel, which was then under Roman rule. He was a student of Rabbi Akiba whom he admired and respected immensely. When Rabbi Akiba was imprisoned by the Roman authorities, Rabbi Shimon followed him and continued studying with him (Pesachim 112a)....

Why did Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai stay in a cave for 13 years?

There was once a discussion between Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Yose. Rabbi Judah praised the work of the Romans who had rebuilt the land of Israel (after having destroyed it). Rabbi Shimon protested, saying that all that they did was for selfish purposes. If they built bridges it was to collect tolls, and...

What did Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai do in the cave for 13 years and how did he survive?

Miraculously, a stream of water and carob tree appeared from which they sustained themselves. They lived a completely spiritual lifestyle, spending every waking moment in study. It is believed that he wrote the Zohar, the primary work of Kabbalah, during that time as well. Source: Talmud, Shabbat 33b

Where can I find deep insights on Lag b'Omer online?

Try http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/timeless-patterns/40.htm for information on Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Try http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/timeless-patterns/39.htm for information on why Rabbi Akiba’s students treated each other disrespectfully. See also...

What is the spiritual significance of counting the Omer?

Let’s go back to the time of the exodus from Egypt. We were at a very low spiritual state. We had been so influenced by the immoral society of Egypt that G-d had to literally pull us out. As we say in the Haggadah, if G-d would not have taken us out at that moment we would still be in Egypt. This means that...

What are the ten sefirot and what is their purpose?

The ten sefirot are 10 attributes that G-d created through which He would project Himself to creation and man. They have been called the ten building blocks of creation. The word sefirah has the connotation of “story” (sippur), “number” (mispar) and “border” (sifar), among other...

How would you explain the sefirot of Chochmah and Binah?

Say you have a problem that you’re working on. You think about it again and again but you remain without a solution. Suddenly as you’re walking through the supermarket not even thinking about the issue, a flash of insight comes to you. You say, “Aha! I got it.” Got what? If you would be...

How does the Divine Name Y-H-V-H represent the ten sefirot?

Yud=Chochmah. This is because Chochmah is a seminal point, which can be likened to the letter yud, which is just a point. Hey=Binah. Binah is the expansion of Chochmah, which can be likened to the length, width and depth of the letter Hey. Vov=The six emotions: Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod. Vov...

Can you recommend any good books on the ten sefirot?

“Ten Keys for Understanding Human Nature” by Rabbi Mattis Kantor. Another good book is one that deals only with last seven—Chessed through Malchut, and that is authored by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. It’s called “A Spiritual Guide to the Counting of the Omer”; check out...

Is there any source for the Ten Sefirot in the Bible or in Midrash?

There is no explicit reference to the sefirot in the Bible. However, the names of the sefirot do appear in the Torah but not all together. The names of the first three sefirot are mentioned in Exodus 31:3 in reference to the capacities of Betzalel. It is also mentioned in Proverbs 2:6 and 3:19-20. In Chronicles I...

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