Journal

Welcome to the New Torah Musings

Welcome to the new Torah Musings, an online periodical of Orthodox Jewish law and thought published every weekday. Torah Musings is a place for the vibrant exchange of ideas, where scholars, rabbis and laypeople engage with Jewish law, thought and texts. Longtime readers of the Hirhurim-Musings blog may want to know what has changed and why. The key principle is ...

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The Most Important Discussions

Recently, a self-described Orthodox Rabbi wrote what has become a highly controversial article challenging the authorship of the Torah. His radical approach, which shares more in common with the conclusions of academic Biblical criticism than with traditional Rabbinic Judaism, garnered a harsh reaction and prompted a firestorm of articles, posts, and blog entries. Many immediately declared his views heresy and ...

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Honoring the Chief Rabbi of Israel

R Shlomo Aviner / Q: Is there are obligation to honor whoever is elected the Chief Rabbi of Israel? A: Absolutely. What kind of question is that?!Explanation: One is obligated to honor every Torah scholar and one is obligated all the more so to honor the Chief Rabbi. This is the story in the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (25). Rabban Gamliel, the head of the Sanhedrin – i.e. the Chief Rabbi, ruled one way and Rabbi Yehoshua ruled another way. Rabban Gamliel said to Rabbi Yehoshua: "You have to come to me with your staff and your money belt on the day that you calculated to be Yom Kippur." Rabbi Yehoshua asked Rabbi Dosa ben Hurkenos if he was obligated to go. He answered: "He is the Chief Rabbi and he decided. If you question this Chief Rabbi, you have to question every Chief Rabbi going back to Moshe Rabbenu." If you say, "How was it that former times were better than these?" (Kohelet 7:10), you are incorrect. You forgot. "Go to the judge that will be in your days" (Devarim 17:9) – that is the judge you have. And the later generations should not say that the earlier generations were superior (Rosh Hashanah ibid.).

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Drinking Water on Tisha B’Av

Guest post by R. Asher Bush Rabbi Asher Bush is the rav of Congregation Ahavas Yisrael in Wesley Hills, NY and is a longtime member of the faculty at Frisch Yeshiva High School. He is the author of T’shuvos Sho’el B’Shlomo and serves as the Chairman of the Va’ad Halacha of the Rabbinical Council of America. On one hand, I ...

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Terefot and Tish’a B’Av

Terefot and Tish’a B’Av: How Fixed Is Nature? Guest post by R. Gidon Rothstein Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein is the author of We’re Missing the Point: What’s Wrong with the Orthodox Jewish Community and How to Fix It, Educating a People: An Haftarot Companion as a Source for a Theology of Judaism, and two works of Jewishly-themed fiction, Murderer in ...

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Change Nachem?

The phenomenon of text message responsa has been subject to considerable criticism. How can a rabbi truly understand a question’s context when all he has is a brief message? And how can he accurately convey a nuanced answer in so few characters? Yet the genre’s popularity continues. Personally, I enjoy seeing the brief interactions and learn a good deal from ...

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Letter to Zeide

Ari Lamm / Dear Zeide,I received this week with bittersweet emotion the news of your retirement from Yeshiva University. Years and years will be required to reflect appropriately upon your storied career, and I admit that I am in no position to initiate this endeavor. As your grandchild – and not even the first – I arrived, at best, during the seventh inning stretch of your career (a reference that I’ll have to explain to you some time), far too late to appreciate its full scope and impact.

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