385 Questions to Ask a Rabbi About Judaism

Curious about Judaism? One of the best people to chat with is a rabbi. A rabbi is like a teacher or leader in the Jewish community. They’re full of wisdom and insights about Jewish traditions, beliefs, and modern issues.┬áDive into these questions to spark a meaningful conversation with a rabbi and learn more about Judaism.

Questions About Holidays

  1. What’s the meaning behind Hanukkah?
  2. Why do people eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah?
  3. How do you properly celebrate the Sabbath?
  4. What is Passover, and why is it important?
  5. Why do we build a Sukkah during Sukkot?
  6. What’s the story of Purim?
  7. How do you light the Menorah correctly?
  8. What food is traditional for Passover and why?
  9. What prayers are special for Yom Kippur?
  10. How do families celebrate the Sabbath at home?
  11. Can you explain the tradition of reading the Megillah on Purim?
  12. What’s the idea behind fasting on Yom Kippur?
  13. Why do we wave the Lulav and Etrog on Sukkot?
  14. How is Shavuot celebrated?
  15. What’s the Tishrei holiday season?
  16. What are the four cups of wine in the Passover Seder?
  17. Why do some people wear costumes on Purim?
  18. What are the special foods for Hanukkah?
  19. How is Tu B’Shevat celebrated?
  20. What is the significance of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah?
  21. What’s the proper way to clean for Passover?
  22. Why is Simchat Torah important?
  23. How should I prepare for Yom Kippur?
  24. What’s the meaning behind breaking the glass at a wedding?
  25. What’s special about Lag BaOmer?
  26. Can non-Jewish people participate in Jewish holidays?
  27. How is Tisha B’Av observed?
  28. Are there special prayers for each holiday?
  29. What is the meaning of the 10 Days of Repentance?
  30. Can you explain the concept of “days of awe”?

Questions About Prayer

  1. What’s the meaning behind the Shema prayer?
  2. How do you use Tefillin?
  3. What are the morning prayers?
  4. How do you pray at the Western Wall?
  5. What’s the Amidah prayer?
  6. What is Kaddish, and when is it said?
  7. Can you pray in English?
  8. What is Minyan?
  9. How should kids start learning to pray?
  10. What’s the meaning behind the Tallit?
  11. What are the evening prayers?
  12. What is Havdalah?
  13. What are Psalms used for?
  14. Is there a prayer for healing?
  15. How often should you pray?
  16. What are the blessings for food?
  17. How do you properly say the Shehecheyanu blessing?
  18. What are the prayers for the dead?
  19. What are the special prayers for the Sabbath?
  20. How do you bless a new home?
  21. What’s the role of women in prayer?
  22. What is a Siddur?
  23. How can you focus better during prayer?
  24. Are there prayers for traveling?
  25. How is prayer different on holidays?
  26. Is there a specific place to pray?
  27. What is Birkat Hamazon?
  28. Are there special tunes for prayers?
  29. What are the afternoon prayers?
  30. Can I write my own prayers?
  31. Can you explain the concept of communal prayer?
  32. What is the significance of the prayer shawl?
  33. Are there prayers for finding a soulmate?
  34. What’s the idea behind facing Jerusalem while praying?
  35. What is the “Modeh Ani” prayer?
  36. Are there prayers to say during times of war or conflict?
  37. Is it okay to miss a prayer and make it up later?
  38. How do you hold a prayer book properly?
  39. Can you pray with a non-Jewish friend?
  40. What is the Bedtime Shema?
  41. How does one catch up if they arrive late to a prayer service?
  42. Are there any special prayers for pets or animals?
  43. Is there a prayer before studying the Torah?
  44. What is the Tachanun prayer?
  45. Can we pray for non-religious things like success or happiness?
  46. What is the Aleinu prayer, and why is it important?
  47. What are some common mistakes people make during prayer?
  48. Is it mandatory to pray in a Synagogue?
  49. What are the prayers that you say when you’re feeling grateful?
  50. Are there prayers for bad dreams or nightmares?
  51. What are the prayers for repentance?
  52. What is the Vidui prayer?
  53. Are there prayers for when someone is sick in the hospital?
  54. How do you pray during a fast?
  55. What is the role of a prayer leader or cantor?
  56. How do you pick a prayer book that’s right for you?
  57. What is the Hallel set of prayers?
  58. Are there prayers for environmental protection?
  59. Can prayer change God’s mind?
  60. How can someone get more comfortable with praying in Hebrew?

Questions About Lifecycle Events

  1. How is a Jewish baby named?
  2. What’s a Bar Mitzvah, and what does it mean?
  3. How do Jewish weddings work?
  4. What is a bris, and why is it done?
  5. How is a Bat Mitzvah different from a Bar Mitzvah?
  6. What are the Jewish beliefs about death and the afterlife?
  7. What are the customs of a Jewish funeral?
  8. How is a Jewish engagement celebrated?
  9. What’s the meaning of the Chuppah in a wedding?
  10. How do you observe the Shiva mourning period?
  11. What is a Mikvah, and what’s it for?
  12. What happens at a baby naming ceremony?
  13. How do you celebrate becoming an adult in Judaism?
  14. How is a divorce handled in Jewish law?
  15. What are the milestones for a Jewish child?
  16. What are the Jewish customs for a new home?
  17. Are there any special customs for starting a new job?
  18. What are the Jewish views on adoption?
  19. How do you honor the anniversary of a loved one’s death?
  20. What’s the role of Godparents in Judaism?
  21. Are there any ceremonies for reaching old age?
  22. How do you choose a Hebrew name?
  23. What are the rules for keeping a Jewish home?
  24. How do you prepare a baby’s room according to Jewish customs?
  25. Are there Jewish customs for going to college?
  26. What are the ceremonies for twins?
  27. What happens at a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony?
  28. Are there any special blessings for pregnancy?
  29. How do you honor a milestone like a big birthday?
  30. What are Jewish views on renewing wedding vows?
  31. Are there specific prayers or rituals for adopting a child in Judaism?
  32. What is the Jewish perspective on organ donation and life-saving measures?
  33. Can you explain the customs and significance of a Pidyon HaBen ceremony?
  34. What is the Jewish perspective on assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy?
  35. Are there specific rituals or prayers for celebrating a significant achievement or milestone in one’s life?
  36. What are the customs and ceremonies associated with moving into a new home?
  37. How does Judaism view the celebration of academic achievements?
  38. Are there special prayers or rituals for someone who has overcome a serious illness or adversity?
  39. What are the customs and rituals for a Jewish divorce ceremony?
  40. What is the Jewish perspective on celebrating a non-Jewish spouse’s cultural or religious milestones?

Questions About Jewish History

  1. How did the Jewish people originate?
  2. What’s the significance of the Exodus story?
  3. How did the Jewish diaspora affect Jewish traditions?
  4. What were the major Jewish communities in the Middle Ages?
  5. How did the Holocaust impact Jewish identity and spirituality?
  6. What role did Jews play in ancient civilizations like Babylon or Egypt?
  7. How has the State of Israel evolved throughout history?
  8. Who were the major Jewish philosophers and thinkers?
  9. How have Jewish customs evolved over centuries?
  10. What was the Jewish Enlightenment?
  11. How did Jews navigate periods of persecution?
  12. What’s the history behind some of the major Jewish holidays?
  13. What was the relationship between Jews and the early Christian communities?
  14. How did Jews contribute to the arts, sciences, and literature throughout history?
  15. What are the major historical divisions within Judaism?
  16. How has Jewish cuisine evolved over the centuries?
  17. What is the history behind the Hebrew language?
  18. How did ancient Jewish traditions influence modern Judaism?
  19. What role did women play in Jewish history?
  20. How did Judaism spread to various parts of the world?
  21. What’s the history behind the Kabbalah?
  22. How did Jewish traditions influence other religions?
  23. What were the key historical events leading to the establishment of Israel?
  24. Who were the Maccabees, and why are they important?
  25. How have Jewish texts been preserved over the millennia?
  26. How did Jewish communities adapt to different cultural contexts?
  27. What were the major challenges and achievements of Jews in the 20th century?
  28. How did the Jewish community react to major global events?
  29. What’s the historical connection between Jews and Jerusalem?
  30. How did Zionism emerge as a movement?

Questions About Kosher Food

  1. What does “kosher” actually mean?
  2. Why are some animals considered kosher and others not?
  3. What’s the process for making meat kosher?
  4. Can you explain what Pareve is?
  5. Why do we wait between eating meat and dairy?
  6. What are the rules for kosher fish?
  7. How do you properly bless food?
  8. Are there any kosher restrictions on fruits and vegetables?
  9. What’s the significance of the kosher symbols on food packaging?
  10. How do I set up a kosher kitchen?
  11. Can you use the same dishes for meat and dairy?
  12. What are the basics of kosher wine?
  13. How does kosher food play a role during holidays?
  14. Is it possible to eat kosher at a non-kosher restaurant?
  15. Are there kosher rules for eating outside of the home?
  16. Is vegan food automatically kosher?
  17. Can you make your own food kosher?
  18. What are the kosher guidelines for baked goods?
  19. What’s the story behind kosher salt?
  20. What are kosher food rules for babies and children?
  21. How is kosher cheese made?
  22. Is organic food the same as kosher?
  23. How do you keep kosher while traveling?
  24. Are there any exceptions to kosher rules?
  25. What’s the history of kosher food laws?
  26. How do I read kosher food labels?
  27. What’s the difference between kosher and “kosher-style”?
  28. How do you kosherize kitchen appliances?
  29. Is Halal food also kosher?
  30. Are there any special blessings for special foods?

Questions About The Torah

  1. What is the Torah, and why is it important?
  2. How is the Torah different from the Bible?
  3. How do you properly handle a Torah scroll?
  4. What are the Five Books of Moses?
  5. How is the Torah read in synagogue?
  6. Why do people kiss the Torah?
  7. How do you interpret the stories in the Torah?
  8. What is the Haftarah?
  9. What is the weekly Torah portion?
  10. Are there feminine aspects of God in the Torah?
  11. How was the Torah given to Moses?
  12. Why is the Torah written in Hebrew?
  13. What’s the connection between the Torah and Jewish law?
  14. How do you study Torah?
  15. What does it mean to be “called to the Torah”?
  16. How do you celebrate the completion of reading the Torah?
  17. What’s the importance of the Ten Commandments?
  18. How do you keep the Torah safe?
  19. Are there hidden messages in the Torah?
  20. What’s the role of the Torah in prayer?
  21. How is the Torah different from the Talmud?
  22. How do you choose a Torah for a synagogue?
  23. Can anyone read from the Torah?
  24. What’s the meaning behind the decorations on a Torah?
  25. How is the Torah scroll made?
  26. What happens if a Torah is damaged?
  27. Why are there crowns on some Hebrew letters in the Torah?
  28. How can I involve the Torah in my daily life?
  29. What’s the tradition of writing a Torah?
  30. Is it okay to question what’s written in the Torah?
  31. Can I read the Torah in English, or must it be in Hebrew?
  32. What’s the meaning of the phrase “Torah Lishmah”?
  33. How are ethical values taught through the Torah?
  34. Why do some people dance with the Torah?
  35. Can children touch the Torah?
  36. What is Midrash, and how does it relate to the Torah?
  37. How does the Torah relate to modern-day issues?
  38. Can you recommend a good Torah commentary for beginners?
  39. What’s the importance of the oral Torah?
  40. How does the Torah guide Jewish family life?
  41. How are social justice themes found in the Torah?
  42. Is there a correct way to question or challenge the Torah?
  43. What are the 613 commandments in the Torah?
  44. What’s the significance of the number 40 in the Torah?
  45. What are the Torah’s views on gender roles?
  46. How often is the Torah repaired or checked for errors?
  47. What’s the symbolism behind the materials used to make a Torah scroll?
  48. Can you explain the concept of “Pardes” in the Torah study?
  49. How do the rabbis of the Talmud interpret the Torah?
  50. Are there any common misunderstandings about the Torah?

Questions About Conversion

  1. What are the basic steps for converting to Judaism?
  2. Do I need to learn Hebrew to convert?
  3. Can anyone convert to Judaism?
  4. What’s the role of the mikvah in conversion?
  5. How long does the conversion process usually take?
  6. Will I have a Bar/Bat Mitzvah after converting?
  7. What’s the significance of choosing a Hebrew name?
  8. How do converted Jews fit into the Jewish community?
  9. What are the costs associated with converting?
  10. Is conversion accepted by all Jewish denominations?
  11. What happens if a converting couple has children?
  12. What role does the Torah play in conversion?
  13. Do I need to live in a Jewish community to convert?
  14. How do I tell my family I’m converting?
  15. Are converts required to keep kosher?
  16. What books should I read as part of my conversion?
  17. Will I need to undergo circumcision?
  18. What questions will the conversion panel ask me?
  19. Can I choose my own Hebrew name?
  20. Do I have to give up my previous religious holidays?
  21. How is conversion celebrated?
  22. What’s the role of a sponsor in conversion?
  23. Can you convert if you’re in a relationship with a non-Jewish person?
  24. Is there a probation period after converting?
  25. Can a conversion be revoked?
  26. How do I choose the right synagogue for my conversion?
  27. Is it essential to have Jewish friends during the conversion process?
  28. What are the ethical obligations of being Jewish after converting?
  29. Do I need to visit Israel as part of my conversion?
  30. What does it mean to “live Jewishly”?
  31. What role does prayer play in the conversion process?
  32. Do I need to observe all Jewish holidays as part of conversion?
  33. Can I attend synagogue services before completing my conversion?
  34. How do I prepare for the Beit Din (Jewish court) interview?
  35. How important is having a Jewish mentor during conversion?
  36. Is it necessary to attend Jewish study classes?
  37. What are some challenges I might face during conversion?
  38. Do I need to take a test on Jewish laws and customs?
  39. How can I build a meaningful relationship with the Jewish community?
  40. Are there different levels of observance required for conversion?
  41. What is expected of me on the Sabbath during conversion?
  42. What kind of charity or community service is required?
  43. Are there any Jewish cultural aspects I should be familiar with?
  44. How do I deal with resistance or doubt from loved ones?
  45. Is it mandatory to fast on certain days during conversion?
  46. How does one get an aliyah to the Torah during conversion?
  47. Can a converted Jew wear a Tallit and Tefillin?
  48. What’s the difference between converting through Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform Judaism?
  49. How does conversion impact my professional life?
  50. Can I still celebrate my cultural heritage after converting to Judaism?

Questions About The Synagogue

  1. What is the primary purpose of a synagogue?
  2. What’s the difference between a synagogue, shul, and temple?
  3. Why is the Ark an important feature in synagogues?
  4. Can anyone visit a synagogue, or is it restricted to Jews only?
  5. What is the significance of the eternal light in the synagogue?
  6. How does one behave properly when attending synagogue services?
  7. Why do men and women sit separately in some synagogues?
  8. How is the interior of a synagogue designed?
  9. What role does the rabbi play in the synagogue?
  10. What is the role of the cantor or “hazzan”?
  11. Are musical instruments used in synagogue services?
  12. How do you choose the right synagogue for your family?
  13. What are the major holidays celebrated in the synagogue?
  14. How does a synagogue operate and fund its activities?
  15. Can children participate in synagogue services?
  16. What is the significance of the synagogue’s location and direction?
  17. Why do some people wear prayer shawls in the synagogue?
  18. How do synagogues commemorate major life events?
  19. How do synagogues engage with the wider community?
  20. What are the core values upheld by a synagogue?
  21. How are decisions made in the synagogue community?
  22. How can I get involved in synagogue activities?
  23. What educational programs do synagogues usually offer?
  24. How do synagogues address interfaith relationships?
  25. Are there special services for different age groups in the synagogue?
  26. How do synagogues deal with security and safety?
  27. What are the customs around visiting a synagogue for the first time?
  28. How do synagogues handle inclusivity and diversity?

Questions About Spiritual Practices

  1. How do Jews cultivate a relationship with God?
  2. What are the daily spiritual practices recommended in Judaism?
  3. How does meditation fit into Jewish spirituality?
  4. Are there specific Jewish mindfulness practices?
  5. How is nature incorporated into Jewish spiritual practices?
  6. How do Jews approach the idea of the soul?
  7. What’s the Jewish perspective on dreams and their meanings?
  8. How do Jews seek forgiveness or atonement in their spiritual journey?
  9. What role does charity (tzedakah) play in Jewish spirituality?
  10. How do Jews prepare for and observe the Sabbath?
  11. What are the Jewish views on the afterlife and reincarnation?
  12. How do Jews find spiritual growth through study?
  13. Are there any special prayers for guidance and inner peace?
  14. How do Jews approach the challenges of modern life spiritually?
  15. What’s the importance of community in Jewish spiritual practices?
  16. How do Jews commemorate milestones in their spiritual journey?
  17. What are some traditional Jewish healing practices?
  18. How is music integrated into Jewish spiritual life?
  19. How do Jews approach periods of doubt or spiritual crisis?
  20. What are the spiritual lessons taught through Jewish holidays?
  21. How do Jewish spiritual practices change throughout life’s stages?
  22. Are there Jewish retreats or pilgrimages for spiritual growth?
  23. How do Jews balance tradition and modernity in spiritual practices?
  24. What are some ancient Jewish mystical practices?
  25. How do Jews cultivate gratitude in daily life?
  26. What are the roles of angels and spiritual beings in Judaism?
  27. How does Jewish spiritual practice address grief and loss?
  28. How do Jews find meaning in life’s challenges through spirituality?
  29. What are the deeper spiritual meanings behind Jewish symbols and rituals?

Questions About Modern Issues

  1. How does Judaism approach the topic of climate change?
  2. What is the Jewish perspective on gender equality?
  3. How do Jewish teachings address mental health issues?
  4. What’s the stance of Judaism on LGBTQ+ rights and relationships?
  5. How does the Jewish community confront rising anti-Semitism today?
  6. What do Jewish scholars say about modern technological advancements and ethics?
  7. How does Judaism handle issues related to social media and its implications?
  8. What are Jewish views on global migration and refugees?
  9. How does Judaism address economic disparities and poverty?
  10. How do Jewish communities approach the issue of interfaith marriages?
  11. What does Judaism say about political involvement and activism?
  12. How do Jewish leaders approach the challenges of secularism in society?
  13. What are Jewish teachings on modern warfare and peacekeeping?
  14. How does Judaism tackle modern educational challenges?
  15. What do Jewish scholars say about artificial intelligence and robotics?
  16. How do Jewish teachings guide business ethics in today’s global economy?
  17. What’s the stance of Judaism on space exploration and potential life on other planets?
  18. How do Jewish communities maintain tradition in rapidly changing urban settings?
  19. How does Judaism address contemporary health issues like obesity or substance abuse?
  20. What’s the Jewish perspective on animal rights and vegetarianism?
  21. How do Jewish communities view the role and evolution of family structures today?
  22. What are Jewish teachings on global solidarity and international cooperation?
  23. How do Jewish leaders approach the challenges of modern parenting?
  24. How does the Jewish community view the evolution of artistic and cultural expressions?
  25. What’s the Jewish stance on modern-day slavery and human trafficking?
  26. How do Jewish teachings address the digital divide and access to information?
  27. What are Jewish views on the ethical challenges of biotechnology?
  28. How do Jewish leaders address the issue of religious extremism in the world?
  29. What does Judaism say about global epidemics and health crises?
  30. What’s the Jewish perspective on sustainable living and environmental conservation?
  31. How do Jewish communities navigate the balance between tradition and modern science?
  32. How does Judaism address issues of racial and social justice?
  33. How does the Jewish community approach the challenges of youth disengagement?
  34. What are the perspectives on political neutrality or activism within Jewish congregations?
  35. How does Judaism handle contemporary challenges regarding freedom of speech and censorship?
  36. What are Jewish communities doing to address issues of aging populations?
  37. How does Judaism navigate the blend of traditional music and contemporary genres in worship?
  38. What are the Jewish teachings on resilience and adaptability in the face of rapid societal changes?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a Rabbi in Judaism?

A Rabbi, in Judaism, is a spiritual leader or figurehead of a Jewish congregation or community. Rabbis are responsible for leading services, providing spiritual guidance, interpreting Jewish laws, and often acting as a link between the Jewish community and broader society. 

They may also play a central role in Jewish ceremonies, such as weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and funerals.

What are the primary teachings of Judaism?

Judaism is based on three primary teachings:

  • Monotheism: The belief in one God who created and ruled the universe.
  • Covenant: A mutual agreement between God and the Jewish people. In this covenant, the Jewish people agree to worship only God and follow his laws, and in return, God continues to bless them.
  • Divinely revealed law: The teaching that religious laws were revealed by God to the Jewish people and are outlined in the Torah.

What is the way of life in Judaism?

The way of life in Judaism is guided by the Torah and encompasses a set of religious, moral, and social commandments and practices. It emphasizes the importance of a relationship with God, ethical behavior, community, and rituals that mark the cycles of life and the year. 

This includes observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher dietary laws, participating in festivals, and performing acts of charity and justice. Family, education, and community are also central pillars of Jewish life.

Conclusion

From symbols to traditions, discussing Judaism with a rabbi can be an eye-opening experience. They’re here to share, teach, and help us understand the richness of their traditions. 

May the joy of discovery keep lighting your path as you continue your exploration. Here’s to more questions and wonderful revelations!

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Robby Salveron

Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.