QUESTION: "For a Jew such as me who has been born of a Jewish mother married to a gentile father and brought up in the faith - how would their soul be judged in relation to passage "the sins of his father and forefathers"? And how would they go about making reparation for their paternal ancestry?"

ANSWER: The first area to focus on is your own misdeeds and character deficiencies. You are not responsible for your birth. The effect the misdeed of your mother and her parents has had on you is on what is known in Kabbala as your "spiritual garments". Your soul is a pure Jewish soul. The blemish in the "garments" means you have to try harder. But your judgment will be according to your deeds, not theirs, as long as you do not repeat their sins.

Therefore, as far as your original question - making reparation for their paternal ancestry - Marry a good Jewish woman, have lots of good Jewish children, and make sure they get a strong Jewish education starting at an early age, in order to stamp out any tendency to intermarry.

QUESTION: "If pain and suffering are part of the divine plan for reasons other than the consequence of sin, what are those reasons? Most Kabbala books that I have read, most notably "Derech Hashem" (or "Way of G‑d") have pointed to a strong connection between sin and suffering. If there is another legitimate viewpoint, I'm opened minded and willing to hear it."

ANSWER: A distinction is made between "suffering of punishment" and "suffering of love". Perhaps the trauma Abraham went through during the Binding of Isaac would be an example of suffering of love. We have to be very careful when we see someone suffering to guard ourselves against the reaction, "If he is suffering then he must have sinned." That is not a desirable Jewish response.

QUESTION: "It's written (in Pirkei Avot), 'The more effort the greater the reward.' So if a product I can purchase for 5 or 50 or 500 dollars can create such pleasure in the physical world, there must be a way to achieve this euphoric state through worshiping our exalted G‑d. I must know what you think on this subject."

ANSWER: It is possible for those people whose souls are more important to them than their bodies and their possessions.

QUESTION: "Is prophecy possible now, before the rebuilding of the Holy Temple?"

ANSWER: Prophecy at the level of the biblical prophets from the time of the Holy Temples is supposed to be impossible since the time of the Temples' destruction, as you said, until shortly before Moshiach's coming. But there is a lower level of prophecy, known as "ruach hakodesh", which is possible even today. You can find many instances of it in the stories about the great Chasidic rebbes, Sephardic kabbalists, and some great Lithuanian sages.

QUESTION 1: "How does Kabbala view homosexuality? Is it mentioned in the Zohar?"

Also: "Are there any writings that lend credence to the thought that a soul who, in a previous transmigration has lived as a woman, could be transmigrated into the body of a man, yet retain the characteristics of a woman? Could this be the reason that many homosexuals appear to have been "born" with this tendency, and why many are so appalled even by the idea of heterosexual sex? I have read studies relating to a soul that has been in a man's body being reincarnated into the body of a woman, and that woman being barren, but no studies regarding souls inhabiting male homosexuals. Is there anything in the Torah to substantiate this?"

ANSWER: Kabbala is an inseparable part of Judaism. The Torah, G‑d's instruction manual to all Jews, clearly forbids homosexuality; no "lawyer" arguments will work here, as there is no "wiggle" room. If the homosexual person is Jewish, then he must seriously address this flaw and do teshuva.

Of course, a sinning Jew is as equally and validly Jewish as a non-sinning Jew, and who can claim to be without sins anyway? Also, a person who sins in one area can be very good in other areas. Although for a Jew, the definition of "good person" is not up to each person to define, nor is it based on whatever is considered "politically correct" at the time.

Kabbala has some interesting things to say about the spiritual roots of homosexuality, but in no way condones it. For a Kabbalistic insight on how homosexuality affects reincarnation, see Section 2 of the 9th Chapter of "Gate of Reincarnations" from the writings of the holy Ari: Cross-Gender Soul Migration (click here).

Also read its continuation: Male Souls and Male Sons (click here). Perhaps this is not what you wanted to hear, but I'd be interested to hear your reactions anyway.

QUESTION: "How do you refer to the scientific fact that dinosaurs lived long before the Creation (about 6000 years)? As we can't deny the facts that skeletons have been found. Please let me know your opinion as it is important for me "to bridge" between my belief in Torah and science."

ANSWER: I'm afraid that your belief in science is exactly that: belief, but not knowledge. There was never a dinosaur skeleton discovered. A few large bones were found. From this they "induced" an entire skeleton and constructed models. Whether such induction is scientific is yet another question. Science is supposed to be about proof, not belief. But in any case, I am surprised at your naivete.

Now, on to "dinosaur" bones:

Even though it is not exactly proven that there ever were such things as dinosaurs, only theorized, let's accept that there were, or at least that the bones are real. How do we know how old they are? While scientists "believe in" the accuracy of carbon dating, Torah does not. That is because the Torah clearly states that during the flood 4000 years ago, not only did rain fall from the sky, but hot water came up from below the earth. Thus the earth was cooking for forty days, and that refutes the "uniform conditions" theory, the premise that conditions on earth were always exactly the same, upon which carbon dating is based. It is comparable to scientists measuring and proving how many days or weeks it took for the water in an empty pan to evaporate, but being blissfully unaware that at some point it had a fire under it and so the process took only minutes.

But let's even accept that the bones are older than 6000 years. So what? Let's think about what we've read so many times in the Genesis account of Creation.

"G‑d said, 'Let the earth bring forth…fruit trees,' and it was so." (Gen. 1:11) This took place in one and the same day (day three), right? Full grown trees already producing fruit, right? But if a scientist came along with Adam on the sixth day and carbon dated the trees or measured their rings, what conclusions would he draw about their age? And would you believe him when he announced they are tens of years old and agree with him when he laughed at Adam who would have insisted they were only three days old? And what about the events of the sixth day when G‑d created man and woman and all the events that unfolded. Does it sound like the verses are talking about babies, even if they were indeed only one day old? But if a doctor were to examine them he would never think so or believe so, would he? So, if before or after eating the forbidden fruit, if Adam or a scientist had dug with a shovel in the garden and uncovered dinosaur bones which had been created on the 2nd or 4th day, do you think they would say, "Oh, these look like they are only a few days old." Or do you believe G‑d is capable of having created them already appearing to be hundreds or thousands of years old?

There are also strong answers according to Kabbala, based on the mystical teaching of previous creations, but I believe the above is sufficient for now.