Jewish Values Online

Questions Answered by Rabbi Dr. Natan Ophir
on JVO, Jewish Values Online
To see all the answers by Dr. Ophir on JVO click on:

Friendship Prayer

Just wondering if there is a simple and appropriate prayer for friendship. I teach preschool and I was hoping to find a prayer of thanks to others for their friendship.
October 29, 2012

Speaking directly to God?

What is structured (fixed) prayer all about in Judaism? Can’t we just speak directly to Hashem (G-d) in our own words and language?
September 6, 2012.

What does Judaism say about dating?

In modern society people commonly lead to marriage through dating.
Is there a different prescribed method in Judaism?
July 3, 2012

Jewish Women Wearing Short Skirts or Bikinis

Is it okay for a Jewish woman to wear short shorts, spaghetti straps, or bikinis?
What concerns might there be as far as Jewish values?
Is the answer different in the various denominations or movements of Judaism?
June 11, 2012.


What is the Jewish perspective on trust? Is it ever permitted to betray someone’s trust? What type of person should be trusted? Is being trustworthy a mitzvah (commandment)?
May 10, 2012.

Chakra Meditation and Sefirot?

Question: I am an avid meditator, and given that the eastern meditative techniques are so prevalent, I have grown accustomed to doing certain “chakra meditations”. However, the Chakras are an eastern concept, and Judaism has the Sefirot. So for a Jewish soul, do the Chakras exist?
April 4, 2012.

Divide Between Ultra-Orthodox and Other Denominations?

Is the divide between the ultra-Orthodox and other denominations (modern orthodox, conservative and reform) too great to promote a better understanding and respect between each other?
March 8, 2012.

Directing Prayer Towards Jerusalem?

Why do [most] synagogues around the world position the Torah ark so that the congregants face in the direction of Jerusalem? What is the source for the spiritual concept that prayers do not ascend directly to heaven but rather go first to the Jerusalem Temple and from there upwards?
February 14, 2012

For and Against Child Marriages?

What is your view on child marriages?
February 9, 2012

No Desire To Live in Israel?

Is it “wrong” if I have no desire to live in Israel? I like my friends, family, community, job, etc. where I am now. I support Israeli causes, but I have absolutely no desire to pick up and live there
Dec. 8, 2011

Late Lighting of Shabbat Candles

It is important to light Shabbat candles, but my husband comes home too late on Fridays to do this before sundown. What should we do?
November 26, 2011
For my response on lighting Shabbat candles as Shamor and meditating enjoying the lights as Zakhor see

Surprising Origins of the Shechiyanu Blessing

Where does the bracha of “shehechiyanu” come from? Who wrote it and when was it instituted?
Nov. 10, 2011
For new sources and the original form of the blessing see

Is There Always A Workaround?

Do you think that sometimes there are things that a person should simply not do because it would compromise their beliefs too much? Or is there always a workaround?
Dec. 13, 2011

Losing Sight of Tragedies and Tisha BeAv?

Do you think we have we lost sight of the “original” tragedy of Tisha B’Av – the destruction of the Temple – in all of the more “modern” tragedies? Or since 9 Av is our national day of mourning, perhaps it’s natural that tragedies of long ago are mourned less as time goes on.
Aug. 10, 2011

Sex Education and the Rabbis?

Do you think rabbis and educators in the Jewish community should take a more active role in sex education to newlyweds in light of stories coming forth about couples who can’t consummate their marriage because of certain painful gynecologic conditions?
July 10, 2011

Stock Trader, Wealth and Abundance?

I am a stock trader, and I want to live a balanced life of spirituality, wealth, and joy. If I am able to live a well balanced life, is it o.k. for me to be driven to make more money and strive for more and more success and abundance?
June 9, 2011

Are We Allowed to Hear A Woman Singing?

Is it true that Orthodox [and other] Jews are not allowed to hear a woman’s singing voice? Does this rule out Broadway shows, opera, and concerts? A woman’s voice seems rather innocuous…what’s the deal?
May 10, 2011

Cybersex Addiction?

What does Jewish law say about coping with spousal addiction to cybersex for 10 years in a 20 year marriage? (The addict was deceitful and betrayed trust.)
Feb. 2, 2011