Ten Years of L’eyla


by R. Gil Student Forty years ago, the Office of the Chief Rabbi of the United Synagogue of England, Lord Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits, published the first issue of what would become an important magazine of Orthodox Jewish thought, L’eyla. I recently acquired a large number of back issues and took careful notes on the first ten years of the ...

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Pocketwatches: Addendum


by R. Gil Student In my recent essay on pocketwatches, I neglected to quote a responsum by Rav David Tzvi Hoffmann that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere in this context. Rav Hoffmann was asked whether there is any permission to carry items over your shoulder, where they are clearly more than ten tefachim from the ground. In Melamed Le-Ho’il ...

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The Candy Wrapper Dilemma

sour sticks

by R. Gil Student I. Candy Wrappers Parents of small children have an embarrassing Shabbos secret. There is one act, which rabbis frequently warn against, that we all violate at one time or another. I cannot imagine raising children without committing this act. I will explain what it is and why it is disallowed, and offer an explanation on why ...

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From the Archives of Tradition


by R. Yitzchak Blau What should our attitude be towards playing and watching sports?   R. Shalom Carmy provides insightful analysis in this editor’s note from the Summer 2009 issue. On the one hand, we could easily describe following sporting events as bittul zman, a non – productive use of time.  On the other hand, sports offers the opportunity for an ...

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Rav Lichtenstein Discusses Abortion


by R. Gidon Rothstein Blogging R. Lichtenstein, Leaves of Faith, Volume 2, Week Two: A Practical RA”L Discusses Abortion In these discussions of RA”L’s writings and teachings, I’ve tried to capture characteristic elements. Granted that I was going to write only two essays on each volume, I’ve been seeking topics that could be defended as in some way broader than ...

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Pocketwatches on Shabbos


by R. Gil Student In the evolution of halakhah, the debates that eventually become settled and codified, not all leniencies stay in place. The idea sometime bandied about that the Talmudic phrase “ko’ach de-heteira adif, the lenient position is stronger” means that lenient rulings take priority is not only incorrect but disproven by history. In reality, many combinations of circumstance, ...

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Continuing Life

life support

by R. Gidon Rothstein 27 Shevat: Tzitz Eliezer on the Necessity of Continuing Life Questions of whether to extend life  mostly arise in tragic situations, when there’s no real hope of cure or even (often) improvement. On the 20th of Shevat, 5749 (1989), Dr Eli Schussheim [who is, I think, still currently working, a respected Israeli surgeon and chairman of ...

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Expanding the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim


Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The very first reference to the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim is found in Bereishit, 18: 1, “VA’YEIRA HASHEM EL AVRAHAM. Three men, who were actually mal’achim [angels] in the “guise” of men, appear to Avraham Avinu, whom the Midrash [Bereishit Rabba Ch.20] identifies as Micha’el, Gavri’el and Refa’el. HaShem ...

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Synagogue Changes


by R. Gil Student Jewish liturgy is fairly consistent across geographic traditions but even small differences matter when selecting a permanent text for a specific synagogue. For example, the Kaddish prayer is universally recited at many places in the service but a few words differ between the Ashkenazic, Middle Eastern and pseudo-Sephardic (Chassidic) texts. Repetition breeds familiarity and comfort, or ...

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