Magazine

Levirate Marriage Today

by R. Gidon Rothstein RH Sivan: R. Ovadya Yosef Permitting a Yibum Looking to unify a nation of Jews with diverse practices brings challenges, and some will lean more towards imposing unity, others towards tolerating diversity. Yabia Omer 8; Even HaEzer 26 shows an example of R. Ovadya Yosef opting for diversity in a remarkable way. Dated Rosh Chodesh Sivan ...

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Ivanka, Jared and the Jewish Sabbath

Ivanka, Jared and the Jewish Sabbath What Employers Need to Know by R. Gil Student The media frenzy surrounding President Trump has included reports about his daughter and son-in-law’s observance of Jewish ritual, including resting on the Jewish Sabbath. On a few occasions, the media have noted puzzling exceptions to Ivanka and Jared’s observance, exceptions that raise questions about the ...

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Vort from the Rav: Bamidbar

Bamidbar 3:1 ואֵלֶה תוֹלְדֹת אַהֲרֹן ומשֶה These are the descendants of Aaron and Moses. We are all acquainted with the Akeidah that Abraham performed, but we do not pay sufficient attention to an Akeidah that was carried out by Moses. Moses’ Akeidah was perhaps more awesome and terrifying than Abraham’s. After Abraham offered Isaac, the two of them returned from ...

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Davening Early on Shavuot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In a shul with many elderly members who have trouble staying up late, may we have a minyan for Ma’ariv of Shavuot before tzeit hakochavim (=tzeit)? Answer: The idea of waiting until tzeit to start Shavuot is not found in Chazal but arises first in early Acharonim, beginning with the Masat Binyamin (Chiddushei Dinim, Orach ...

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A Turkish Community’s Tax Revolt

by R. Gil Student We like to think that life is about spirituality and principles but there is also an element of practicality. As Maslow taught us, we have to meet our basic physical and financial needs before we address our spirituality. To the rabbis, these financial needs are spiritual. Therefore, taxation is a religious concern when it concerns those ...

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The Hidden Drama We Can Easily Miss

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban To Ekev, Week One: The Hidden Drama We Can Easily Miss Helps Society Function On the first verse of Parshat Ekev (7;12) דברים ז:יב וְהָיָ֣ה׀ עֵ֣קֶב תִּשְׁמְע֗וּן אֵ֤ת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם וְשָׁמַר֩ יְקֹוָ֨ק אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ לְךָ֗ אֶֽת־הַבְּרִית֙ וְאֶת־הַחֶ֔סֶד אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לַאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ: Devarim 7;12:  And it will be, in return for your hearkening to these ...

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A Rabbi’s Right to Refuse

by R. Gil Student Does a rabbi have the right to refuse to answer someone seeking his guidance? If someone asks him an halakhic question, may a rabbi choose not to answer? Or is he, like a doctor, duty-bound by his special skills to serve the public that needs his services? I. The Rule The Gemara (Sotah 22a) explains Proverbs ...

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The Heresy of the Ten Commandments

by R. Gil Student I. It’s All Good What is the most important passage in the Torah? The debate over a Shavuos custom teaches that answering this question opens the door to claims that other passages are unimportant. Consider Rambam’s statement in his eighth fundamental principle, based on Sanhedrin (99b), that the entire text of the Pentateuch was written by ...

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