OT: In Genesis when God spelled out the punishment for Adam and Eve, "Unto the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children". God also commanded man to conquer the earth. With all the period pains and the menses, does conquering the earth mean that it is possible to stop these pains for the woman?
Rabbi: No, conquering Earth means to harness all God created, but not that man can change natural law.
OT: So how is a period pain different from say, a disease or a headache, for which one can take a pain killer?
Rabbi: Headaches and all other conditions/sickenesses were not programed into nature to be regular maladies, as is the menses.
In this manner, menses, labor pains, and pregnancy pains are all deemed "punishments" as they are fixed cycles of nature for the gender, and not chance occurrences like headaches, based on one's constitution or circumstances.
Levi: I was just wondering, with everyone flocking to the tomb of Rachel and people claiming the news that "she has a word with Hashem, and He answers "better" because of her merit – God listens to her". The whole thing upsets me. Are we saying we can pray to or talk to the dead to intercede for us? Do you condone this? Or am I missing something here!? I thought we prayed to God and God alone. Many say, "Oh we don't pray to her..." But the masses do...they simply do, and admittedly on every TV channel. Many thanks.
Rabbi: You are 100% correct. Judaism does not have the need for intermediaries, since God says "In any place that you call My name, I will come to you and bless you". (Exod. 20:21) Thus, God is aware of all people, and their prayers. Location plays no role. Maimonides states in Laws of Idolatry 2:1 that it is prohibited to create an intermediary between one’s self and God. Furthermore, Maimonides classifies one as a “min” (heretic) anyone who “worships a star, a constellation or anything else, that it should be an “advocate” between him and God.” (Laws of Repentance, 3:7) Intermediaries expresses the idea that God is not independently sufficient, i.e., He requires an intermediary or assistant.
This theory destroys the Torah Fundamental of "Reward and Punishment". For God teaches that we receive His good providence based on our internal perfection, not based on accidental circumstances or location. In his Laws of Repentance (2:3) Maimonides equates one who repents in his mouth but not his heart, with one who ritually immerses but cleaves to an insect in his hand. Just as one is not cleansed as long as he holds onto the insect, one is not forgiven until he/she repents: an internal, true repentance. Therefore it is a violation of Torah to follow the practices of paying to have prayers recited on our behalf, praying at Rachel's tomb or the Western Wall, assuming these are effective.
Websites like www.westernwallprayers.org and all who promote such sites violate Torah, in exchange for money. Today, Jews are more interested in a quick dollar, than in following God's word. If any of these organizations would study the sources for 5 minutes, they would admit they have sinned greatly. But no one studies. People simply follow the masses.
Regarding prayers at Rachel's tomb, or any grave, another sin is performed. The Torah forbids consulting the dead. God tells us “[do not] inquire of the dead. For it is an abomination to God, all who do such things, and on account of these abominations, Hashem your God wiped them out from before you.” (Deut. 18:11,12) God prohibits that which is false. The dead can do nothing, and even if they could, is not God more capable, and to whom it is more worthy to pray?
Rabbis who fail to denounce these Torah prohibitions are doing a grave disservice by encouraging idolatrous practices. Their silence is deafening.
Rabbi: I was told this in a recent discussion: "Listen, it can't hurt to wear a red bendel to protect me from evil. I don't now if it does anything, I can't prove it one way or the other...maybe it works, maybe it doesn't...but in case it does work, I will wear it. I'm not taking it off."
Joni believes that to be protected from unwanted occurences, you need not perfect your character. Joni assumes God's system of reward and punishment to be false, and feels even a wicked person can be saved from punishment, simply by wearing something. You must know that a major lesson in the book of Job was that evils befell him until he perfected his thinking, and abandoned his ignorance.
God will not reinforce foolishness by protecting us from evil, because one wears a string. God reinforces truth, as God says, "Jerusalem will then go out and cry out to the gods to whom they burn offerings, but they will not save them at all at the time of their misfortune. For as the number of your cities was the number of your gods......" (Jerem. 11:12,13) Whether one cries to false gods or seeks protection from created objetcs, it's one and the same crime. And just as false gods "have no eyes to see, no ears to hear, no mouths to speak", red bendles are equally inanimate. Powerless. Fake.
Joni also demonstrates a lack of conviction in either position, "Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't". Thus, she does not value truth, but instead, hedges her bets, fearing failure. She lives as the backward, superstiutious tribal colonies; not as the intelligent Jewish people God intended, who evoke the response from other nations, "What a wise and understanding people". (Deut. 4:6)