Why does G-d live for ever? [Nathan aged 8]
You’re right when you say that G-d lives forever, He is Eternal as He always existed and will always exist.
Because G-d created everything in space and time, He cannot be limited in space and time, He is above it and that’s what we mean by being Eternal.
If He wasn’t Eternal that would mean He would be in some way finite – limited and lacking in power which cannot be because we know that G-d is all powerful. [Children's Rabbi]
Q. Why do boys have Bar Mitzvahs? [Nathan aged 7]
A. A Jewish boy becomes Bar Mitzvah on his 13th birthday. This is based on Ethics of the Fathers that teaches that at 13 years old a boy must keep the mitzvot. This is the age at which the boy begins his adult life and a symbol of this new maturity is the responsibility to keep mitzvot. Becoming Bar Mitzvah is usually marked by the boy being called to the Torah and even reading a section of it, as this is the first time he is entitled to do so.
Q. When did rabbi rashi die? [Nathan aged 7]
A. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) was born in 1040 and died on 29th Tammuz 1105 in Troyes (France)
Q. Why do boys wear tzitzit and why don’t girls wear kippas? [Nathan aged 7, Evie aged 4]
A. The Torah says that we should attach tzitzit to the corners of any four cornered garment to remind us of the mitzvot. When we see them, we remember the mitzvot and do them. Boys wear a kippa to remember that G-d is above and all around them and as a sign of humility (not being too proud). Girls don’t need to wear a kippa because they are more aware anyway that G-d is all around them, it’s called being more ‘spiritual’. [Children's Rabbi]
Q. Can G-d see himself even though He is invisible? [Nathan aged 7]
A. I would say that although G-d is not visible to us, it doesn’t mean He’s invisible. Even though we can’t see Him, He can still see Himself.
Maimonides teaches that if you really want to see G-d then look at His creations, study the world and you see G-d in it.
Q. When did Yaakov die? [Nathan aged 7]
A. Yaakov died in the year 2255 in the Hebrew calendar which corresponds to 1506BCE.
Q. If Rashi and Rabeinu Tam wore different sorts of Tefillin that means that they received different traditions from Sinai – so how can we be sure that any of the traditions about anything are accurate? [Shai aged 12]
A. The reason why there are two types of Tefillin is not because Rashi and Rabbenu Tam had different traditions of how the Tefillin should be made but they had different understandings of exactly what order the parshiot – passages should be placed in the Tefillin Shel Rosh. Most people follow the opinion of Rashi whilst some also have a second set of Tefillin that are in line with Rabbeinu Tam’s opinion.
Q. How did Noah tell the time? [Jacob aged 10]
A. The Ark had a window in it which allowed the light in. We can presume that Noah used that light in order to tell the time.
Q. Why does Pesach have 8 days? [Jacob aged 10]
A. Pesach is celebrated for 8 days outside of Israel on the authority of the ancient sages during the period of the Second Temple. At that time it was impossible to inform those who lived at a distance from Jerusalem of the exact date of a forthcoming festival. By celebrating an extra day outside of Israel, everyone was certain that the right day was observed simultaneously by all Jews regardless of where they lived. Although today we have a fixed calendar and know exactly when the festivals are, we continue with to have an additional day as it had become an accepted practice.