Magazine

Women and Shofar

by R. Gil Student On Rosh Hashanah, Jews throughout the world hear the shofar blown 100 times each of the two days (except on Shabbos). Hearing shofar is a time-bound positive mitzvah (mitzvas aseih she-ha-zeman gerama). Since, generally speaking, women are exempt from time-bound positive mitzvos, they are not required to hear shofar. However, over the centuries women have accepted ...

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Sukkah Constructions and Obstructions

by R. Gidon Rothstein 3 Elul: R. Uzziel on Sukkah Constructions and Obstructions Building a sukkah requires open space, which can sometimes be at a premium. Shu”t Mishpetei Uzziel 3; Orach Chayyim 78, dated 3 Elul 5702 (1942) has R. Uzziel responding to a rabbi who was checking whether he had ruled correctly about a sukkah with certain problems.   One wall of this sukkah was nine tefachim [there are various views about how long ...

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Haunted House in Halakhah

by R. Gil Student In 1872, Rav Yosef Zechariah Stern (Zeikher Yehosef, Yoreh De’ah, vol. 2 no. 142),1 a prominent Lithuanian rabbi, was asked whether a house was cursed. After a house burned down, the gentile owner built a beautiful house in its place but died shortly after. A Jewish family bought the house but both the husband and wife ...

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Vort from the Rav: Shoftim

Devarim 16:21 לֹא תִטַּע לְךָ אֲשֵׁרָה כָּל עֵץ אֵצֶל מִזְבַּח יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ You shall not plant for yourself an asherah, [or] any tree, near the altar of the Lord, your God. Rabbi Akiva Eiger, in his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, adds that the prohibition of not planting trees was extended by the Rabbis to include even the court­yard or ...

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Improper Table Manners?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I was at the home of very fine friends, who have a few-weeks-old baby. Soon before the meal, they put a changing pad down on the dining room table and changed the baby. I didn’t say anything, but I (like most would) found it distasteful. Is it also halachically forbidden, and should I say something? ...

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Transitions in Small Bites

by R. Gidon Rothstein Partial Return, Partial Punishment Only a Sith thinks in absolutes, the movies tell us, and Ramban points to two verses in this parsha that remind us that Hashem is no Sith. דברים פרק לא:יז וְחָרָ֣ה אַפִּ֣י ב֣וֹ בַיּוֹם־הַ֠הוּא וַעֲזַבְתִּ֞ים וְהִסְתַּרְתִּ֨י פָנַ֤י מֵהֶם֙ וְהָיָ֣ה לֶֽאֱכֹ֔ל וּמְצָאֻ֛הוּ רָע֥וֹת רַבּ֖וֹת וְצָר֑וֹת וְאָמַר֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא הֲלֹ֗א עַ֣ל כִּֽי־אֵ֤ין אֱלֹהַי֙ בְּקִרְבִּ֔י מְצָא֖וּנִי הָרָע֥וֹת הָאֵֽלֶּה: (יח) ...

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Women and Kiddush

by R. Gil Student Do women have to say kiddush in shul after Shabbos morning services? For a variety of reasons, often people do not hear the rabbi saying kiddush in shul. Since they are not allowed to eat until hearing kiddush, some bold individual has to take the initiative and recite kiddush. In shuls that have a separate kiddush ...

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Some Limits on Saving Lives

by R. Gidon Rothstein 26 Av: R. Moshe Feinstein on Some Limits on Saving Lives It’s common to say that saving lives pushes aside all of halachah, that we can do whatever it takes to save a life. That’s obviously exaggerated, because we all know situations where a Jew is required to let him/herself be killed rather than violate the Torah ...

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Vort from the Rav: Re’eh

לֹא תוּכַל לֶאֱכֹל בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ מַעְשַׂר דְּגָנְךָ You must not eat within your cities the tithe of your grain In Hebrew there is an idiosyncrasy. In all languages there is a distinction between not being able to do and not being allowed to do. “I cannot” and “I must not” are two different things. Hebrew is the only language that equates ...

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