I welcome your email.
I enjoy answering questions about Judaism. And if the questions are very good, and my answer seems worthy of it, it may wind up as an article on this site (though I wouldn’t use your real name).
But before mailing me, please note the following:
Lately I don’t have much time to write a lot (though I hope and pray that changes soon for the better). So it may take a while before I get to answer your letter. I cannot guarantee when I will get back to you. I may be able to respond immediately, and sometimes it can take a month. If you write me, and you don’t hear from me in two weeks, it’s okay to write me and remind me. I may have somehow overlooked or forgotten your letter.
Also, I try to put a lot of serious work into my answers, and this could take time, for research and for writing.
So after you receive my answer please let me know that you have received it, simply for the good feeling of accomplishment it gives me, knowing I have helped someone, and that my work has not gone to waste.
If you are on America OnLine, please set your security options to allow me to respond. Most of the people who write me from AOL have, apparently, blocked incoming emails, and they can’t receive my response. So when you write me from AOL please let me know that you have made sure I can respond. It’s quite frustrating to put together a nice answer to a question only to discover that I can’t give you the answer anyway!
If you are writing for help on a school project or homework, I will do the best I can to help, but I will not do the project or homework for you. I enjoy answering questions, but it isn’t fair if I do your work for you.
Before writing to me, you might also browse through my website a bit and see if I might have already answered your question.
Hoping to hear from you!
But first, here are some "don’t"s:
I teach Torah, and I answer questions about Torah, which includes, of course, Jewish Law. Please don’t ask me questions about Israeli law. The Modern State of Israel does not follow the Torah, and has no interest in, nor connection with, Jewish Law. It follows its own secular laws, and I have very little knowledge (if any at all) about Israeli law.
In fact, I follow, discuss, and teach Orthodox Judaism only, no other brand. So whatever I write on this web site or via email (or anywhere else, for that matter), is based solely on Orthodox Judaism.
If you’re writing to ask me about conversion, please note that I am not a Rabbi, and I can’t do conversions. I am not even qualified to advise you, other than by pointing out what little I know of what the Rabbis say about conversion. (Plus I have an article called “Becoming Jewish.”) The best I can do is point you towards websites that have lists of Rabbis and/or synagogues. However, bear in mind that most Rabbis don’t get involved in conversion in any way.
If you’re writing to ask me how Jews atone for their sins today now that we have no Holy Temple in Jerusalem, please read this article: “Why Do We No Longer Bring Animal Sacrifices?”.
And I’m sorry, but no matter who you are, I do not answer questions about jesus anymore. I spent much of my youth (from ages 13 to 39 — is that enough?) wasting my time and energy on this study and such discussions. There are people much better qualified than I to answer any questions on these matters. They will welcome your questions or arguments with open arms. You can find a partial list of such people by clicking here.
A few small words of advice to people with such questions: 1) get a good English translation, like The Living Nach (3 volumes, published by Moznaim Publishing, 718-438-7680) and 2) read all verses in the entire context. Those two methods will refute pretty much any questions any christian missionary will ask you.
If you are one of those people who wants to convince me to change my religious beliefs (especially about Jesus), I really do not want to hear from you at all, and you will not like my answer (if I bother to answer you at all). If you still want to write me and try to convince me about your religion or your beliefs, please read my article "What Judaism Thinks of Missionaries" first, before you waste my time and yours. This is not a challenge. This is an attempt to dissuade you from emailing me.
If you’re christian, and you want to ask me questions so you can better understand your own religion: I have no interest in teaching christianity. This is not meant disrespectfully. But the fact is that in most cases, what I have to say will contradict what you have been taught. If you wish to strengthen your own faith better, I can’t in all honesty and consistency advise you about it. If you want honesty and consistency yourself, I would advise Judaism for Jews and the Noahide Convenant for non-Jews.
And no, for some of you christians out there: I do not think that all christians are evil. I reserve that for people who target Jews to convert them to some other religion. As it happens, the only people that I know of that do this are certain types of christian missionaries. But that doesn’t mean that I consider all christians evil. In fact, I consider very few people evil per se. (I do think terrorists are evil, but that’s another story.)
Christians who believe I have written incorrect information about some aspect of what christians believe or practice may write me and correct me, but I would appreciate some proof (if possible), and I absolutely expect a measure of reasonableness. I can understand anger when your beliefs are misrepresented. But please bear in mind that I also have no desire to state falsehoods about anything, so there’s no need to insult or curse me. You can simply point out the error, and I will do my best to correct it if I agree that it’s an error. Certainly, addressing me with insults will not help your cause. You should also consider the fact that in some things we will never agree.
If you’re writing to tell me that you’re the Messiah, please inform me in the manner that Judaism teaches it will happen. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not the Messiah, so don’t bother e-mailing me. I’m not interested. Take it up with all the other Messiahs who write me. I’m sure you’ll be able to find them. (There should be a chat room somewhere where they all meet. Or do none of them believe in each other?) And don’t bother telling me that the Jewish way is misinformed, because I don’t remember that it says anywhere in the Christian Bible either that the Messiah will reveal himself through e-mail.
If you’re writing to ask me for proof from the Bible so that I can support something I have written, please read this article first.
If you’re writing to find out who I am, my name is Mordechai Housman. If you want to know more, please read my "About Me" page.
If you’re writing to ask me advice for your personal life, I’m probably the wrong person to ask. I’m not particularly good at that sort of thing. I really don’t know what to do in such situations, and it hurts me to know that another person is suffering, especially when I can’t help. Everyone should have a good friend to talk to, someone in real life, not someone over the internet.
Incidentally, I am not ordained as a Rabbi, so you don’t need to address me as "Rabbi." I’m not offended by the title, so you don’t have to apologize either.