Journal

Headcoverings and Headaches

by R. Alex Ozar Religion is hard, and it’s supposed to be: Love of God should, by nature, be the sort of thing that claims all your heart, all your soul, all your worth.1 Halakhic Judaism complements this truth with an equal and opposite force: God loves us, and so wills that we live,2 maintain our dignity,3 preserve our wealth,4 nurture harmony ...

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Why Are Young People Leaving Religion?

Why Are Young People Leaving Religion? Insights from an Evangelical Sociologist by R. Dr. Joshua Berman You Lost Me is the title of a recent and provocative book by David Kinnaman, a devout Christian and a sociologist. Through extensive surveys he sought to answer the question that makes up his subtitle: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith. ...

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Love for the “Ger”

by Rav Yehuda Rock The Problem Towards the end of Parashat Ekev, Moshe contrasts God’s power and mercy, deriving a moral lesson (10:17-19): For Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords: the great, mighty, awesome God, Who does not show favor and does not take bribes; Who executes judgment for the orphan and the widow, ...

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Moshe’s Interpretation of the Torah

by R. Yair Kahn Moshe’s Interpretation of the Torah I. Senior Moments? Sefer Devarim contains the parting speeches delivered by Moshe to Benei Yisrael. The first section, known as the historical speech, reviews various events that occurred during the forty years in the wilderness, with an eye on preparing Yisrael to enter the land of Canaan. However, when comparing Moshe’s ...

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Halakha and Custom

by R. Chaim Navon As is well known, Halakha attaches great significance to custom. Many halakhic authorities regard general custom as a crucial factor when they come to decide Halakha. In this lecture, we shall investigate the source of the legal authority of custom. Why are we obligated to follow custom? Jewish customs were certainly not given at Sinai, as ...

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Non-Kosher Waiter

  by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permitted for a religious Jew to work (e.g., as a waiter) in a non-kosher restaurant or café where most of the food is not kosher? Answer: The question is general(/theoretical?), so we will not ask clarifying questions. The issue of providing non-kosher food for Jewish customers is beyond our scope. Most non-kosher foods ...

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Not Mourning During the Three Weeks

by R. Gidon Rothstein With the advent of the Three Weeks, we enter one of those times of the Jewish calendar where ritual outstrips emotion, where our ma’aseh hamitzvah, the actions of observance, as R. Soloveitchik, zt”l might have said, are more fully achieved than the kiyyum, the internal experience those actions intended to produce. The time between Shivah Asar ...

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The Impact of Hukkim on Religious Discourse

by R. David Silverstein Parshat Hukkat begins with a detailed description of the purification ritual known as the “parah adumah” (red heifer).  The purpose of this procedure is to purify someone who has become ritually contaminated by coming in contact with a human corpse. Among the many mysterious features of this legislation is the fact that the priest who performs the ...

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Torah Study and the Integration of Religious Values

by Nachum Klafter, MD I write a monthly essay for the Nefesh International Association of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals. This is my contribution from March 2015. When we study Torah, we internalize religious values and beliefs, primarily, through their association with our internal images of the religious leaders whose teachings are put forth in the texts we are studying. In ...

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