Featured Essays

  • Bypassing Kohanim

    Bypassing Kohanim
    By Gil Student
    (0)

    I. Honoring the Kohen Complicated situations require creative solutions but sometimes they can be too clever. The Torah (Lev. 21:8) commands us to honor kohanim, members of the priestly family, by allowing them to go first (Gittin 59b). We let them go first in line and, by rabbinic decree, call them to the Torah for the first aliyah. However, this system can cause tension in certain circumstances. Consider a synagogue with only one kohen, who receives the first aliyah each time the Torah is read–Monday, Thursday, Shabbos morning and Shabbos […]

     
  • Seeking Godliness

    Seeking Godliness
    By Gil Student
    (2)

    Why do we perform acts of kindness for others? On the one hand, it is basic human nature, but so are laziness and selfishness. The simple answer is that the Torah commands us to be kind. However, exactly how we should understand the Torah’s commands is a source of long-standing debate. An overlooked text offers a profound insight into the meaning of kind actions. I. Godly Actions The most famous early list of the Torah’s commandments–traditionally counted as 613–is found in the introduction to the Halakhos Gedolos (known as the […]

     
  • Rav Kook Resources

    Rav Kook Resources
    By Gil Student
    (0)

    Today, the third day of Elul, is R. Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook’s yahrtzeit. Here are some online resources about him and his teachings: Rav Kook entry in Wikipedia Letters in Honor of Rav Kook’s Yahrtzeit Exploring the Role of Art and Creativity Through the Teachings of Rav Kook An Introduction to the Thought of Rav A.I. Kook About Rav Kook’s Letters Rav Kook on the Weekly Torah Portion

     
  • What is the Torah’s Ideal Political System?

    What is the Torah’s Ideal Political System?
    By Elchanan Samet
    (0)

    by Rav Elchanan Samet A. Appointing a King: Mandatory or Optional? Does the Torah set out a particular social-political way of life for the nation of Israel dwelling in its land, or does it leave this sphere open to the people’s choice? This question may be clarified in the context of the section of this week’s parasha (17:14-20) dealing with the mitzva of appointing a king (and also by examining the chapters describing the establishment of the kingship in Shemuel I chapters 8-12). The central question from an exegetical point […]

     
  • Jews Attending Church

    Jews Attending Church
    By Gil Student
    (7)

    R. Haskel Lookstein generated a storm of criticism when he attended the inaugural church services for President Obama and recited a non-denominational prayer (see this post). Many pointed out the questionable halakhic basis for such a practice, and R. Lookstein himself agreed that he would only attend such a service in the exceptional case of a request by a world leader. Many others noted that English Chief Rabbis have historically attended select church services. I do not know if anyone quoted the following from the former Chief Rabbi of England, […]

     
  • The Right Way To Rebuke

    The Right Way To Rebuke
    By Aharon Ziegler
    (0)

    Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rav Soloveitchik taught that the way to give <i>mussar</i> or rebuke is not to belittle or embarrass a person, rather, to show him that he has erred and that he should correct his ways. By verbally attacking the wrongdoer, most likely that person will react negatively and aggressively, which is the opposite of what we want. Furthermore, he will raise his defense and spitefully continue his malevolent behavior, in order to enforce the fact that he does not consider […]

     
 
  • Daily Reyd

    Daily Reyd (9)

    ▪ R E Goldberg: Are They Humoring...

     
  • Rav Kook Resources

    Rav Kook Resources (0)

    Today, the third day of Elul, is...

     
  • Books Received

    Books Received (0)

    Perfection: The Torah Ideal by...

     
  • Daily Reyd

    Daily Reyd (3)

    ▪ Wertheimer: The Unresolved...

     
 
 
 

Recent Essays

  • Bypassing Kohanim

    Gil Student (0)
    Bypassing Kohanim

    I. Honoring the Kohen Complicated situations require creative solutions but sometimes they can be too clever. The Torah (Lev....

     
  • Seeking Godliness

    Gil Student (2)
    Seeking Godliness

    Why do we perform acts of kindness for others? On the one hand, it is basic human nature, but so are laziness and selfishness....

     
  • Rav Kook Resources

    Gil Student (0)
    Rav Kook Resources

    Today, the third day of Elul, is R. Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook’s yahrtzeit. Here are some online resources about...

     
  • What is the Torah’s Ideal Political System?

    Elchanan Samet (0)
    What is the Torah’s Ideal Political System?

    by Rav Elchanan Samet A. Appointing a King: Mandatory or Optional? Does the Torah set out a particular social-political way...

     
  • Books Received

    Gil Student (0)
    Books Received

    Perfection: The Torah Ideal by R. Dov Katz, ed. Elliot Resnick (Brenn Books) ...

     
  • Jews Attending Church

    Gil Student (7)
    Jews Attending Church

    R. Haskel Lookstein generated a storm of criticism when he attended the inaugural church services for President Obama and...

     
  • The Right Way To Rebuke

    Aharon Ziegler (0)
    The Right Way To Rebuke

    Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rav Soloveitchik taught that the way to give <i>mussar</i>...

     
  • Making Tea and Coffee on Shabbos

    David Roth (14)
    Making Tea and Coffee on Shabbos

    by David Roth One of the thirty-nine prohibited categories of forbidden activities on Shabbos is baking or cooking.1 However,...

     
  • Audio Roundup

    Joel Rich (0)
    Audio Roundup

    by Joel Rich From Pigtails and a Zionist path recalled, 40 years later An immigrant whose life was cut short by a Syrian...

     
  • Freebie: Tomer Devorah

    Gil Student (0)
    Freebie: Tomer Devorah

    Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s 1588 classic Tomer Devorah (Date Palm of Devorah) is widely studied in the weeks preceding...