Ask the Rabbi with Rabbi YY Schochet

Is The Rabbi Moving On?

Dear Rabbi

There’s quite a wide rumour going around that you are being considered for a position on the London Beth Din. Is there any truth to this?


Dear Howard

If you would have read the article on the front page of this paper towards the end of January, it was written therein that I just celebrated 25 years at Mill Hill. There was also reference to the fact that I am considering a new position in the States at the beginning of next year. So that should answer your question.


Looking For Mr. Right

 Dear Rabbi 

I am thirty years old and have been looking for Mr Right for a long time. I know you always say ‘he is out there somewhere.’ My simply question is, ‘where?’


 Dear Joanne

My simple question is have you really looked everywhere? Have you been looking in all the right places? Have you set for yourself a standard that makes managing expectations difficult? You use the term Mr Right but surely you appreciate that he is always going to have something a little wrong. As no doubt your Mom will have told you: ‘Your Dad wasn’t perfect either.’ Besides, the only perfect man I know married my wife thirty years ago. I know the process is sometimes painstaking and difficult, but if you want the rainbow you’ve got to put up with the rain. I can only tell you, that he really is out there – don’t give up looking. That pot of gold is closer than you imagine.


Religious Tensions on the Home front

Dear Rabbi

Over the years I have progressed religiously, though my wife has not. She refuses to go to the mikvah. I am not sure how long more I can tolerate this, and I fear this will affect my relationship as I do not plan to remain celibate all my life. 


Dear Jimmy

Correct me if I am wrong but it takes two to tango. Is your wife prepared to tolerate the present situation? If so, there are far bigger issues at stake here in your relationship. If not, then you are at an impasse which is not much better. It is always a problem when one spouse looks to move further ahead than the other religiously. As a guiding principle one should look to bring the family into religion and not religion into the family. You need to bring others along with you for the ride and look to grow together. 

One who has embraced staunch religious principles cannot be expected to compromise them for the sake of the other. As such I could not possibly suggest to you to give up what you have undertaken. Your wife ought to consider having a conversation with someone who can teach her about the aspects of family purity as well as the implicit benefits for the overall relationship as many across the religious spectrum have come to discover. 

 To Vow or not to Vow

Dear Rabbi

Is it better not to make a vow than to not fulfil it?



Dear Justine

The Torah says that if you make a vow and fail to keep it – that’s a sin. A man’s word is his bond! The next verse says: “If you don’t make any vows to begin with, you will have no sin.” 

Nachmanides, (13th century), comments: “It is better not to vow than to vow and fail to fulfil your promise.” 


 When A Car Needs a Mezuzah

Dear Rabbi

I have been told by some kosher people that I need a Mezuzah for the car. Is this true and is it in accordance with Halachic laws? Your opinion will be greatly appreciated. Many thanks and keep up the good work.



Dear Michael

People aren’t kosher – food is. Cars do not need a mezuzah, houses/offices etc. do. Only habitable rooms require a mezuzah – so unless you tend to live in your car and sleep at the wheel (mind you, some people do meet with that criteria), you would not require a mezuzah.


 Does G-d Have a Sense of Humour?

 Dear Rabbi 

First of all I would like to say how much my family and I enjoy reading your column every week. I have a question which I would love you to answer for me. It came to me last Shabbat morning in Shul and I have been bursting to put finger to key to ask you. I was sitting listening with great interest, as I always do, to our Rabbi’s Sermon. Part of it he made very comical and we all joined in with him in having a good laugh about it. This has prompted me to ask you if you think G-d laughs at our dear Rabbis’ sermons sometimes. In fact, do you think He laughs at our antics as well. It would be so nice to feel that, as well as being a serious G-d as he has so much to deal with, that he has a great sense of humour too.


 Dear Michelle

Just look at the world around you and you know He’s got a sense of humour. But more than that, in strict anthropomorphic terms, G-d mirrors the attributes and emotions of mankind; hence, when we extend kindness to others, He extends kindness to us. On Rosh Hashanah He sits in judgement as manifest through His attribute of strict discipline. But even that discipline can be tempered (sweetened in Kaballistic terms) through our choice actions here. And indeed when we serve G-d with joy then He too responds with joy – or laughter as you might want to call it. Is He laughing at the Rabbi’s humour? I don’t think so (especially some of the tired jokes I’ve heard told).. But if the overall sermon has inspired some people to engage on some level, then yes, He is laughing – not at them, but with them. 

By Rabbi YY Schochet MA CIArb