Magazine

Building a Covenant With Hashem

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ki Tavo opens with different ways in which the Jewish people will in the future or are right then reaffirming their relationship with Hashem. Since “relationship” cannot apply to Hashem in the ordinary way (Hashem is so Other that the use of human language is always either incomplete or incorrect), aspects of these covenantal moments offer ...

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Where to Place a Mezuzah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 20 Tammuz: R. Ya’akov Ettlinger on Where to Place a Mezuzah Mezuzah seems like a fairly simple mitzvah: you buy a piece of parchment with the proper writing on it, put it in a case and attach it to the right doorpost of a doorway. In fact, several of those words need better definition before we can ...

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Ko’ach and Gevurah

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler On Shabbat morning, in one of the liturgical songs praising HaShem for all of His creations, in the paragraph beginning with Kel Adon Al Kol HaMa’asim we find the phrase Ko’ach U’gevurah Natan Ba’hem Li’hi’yot Moshlim BeKerev Teiveil (Strength and power has He granted them, to be dominant within  ...

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Lift-and-Cut Shavers

by R. Gil Student There is a website dedicated to adjusting Norelco Lift-and-Cut Shavers called Kosher Shaver. I always found this a bit amusing because when I was in yeshiva “everyone” used a Lift-and-Cut, after a senior rosh yeshiva declared it permissible (as is this rosh yeshiva‘s policy, he does not want his name mentioned in the media.). His reason: ...

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Vort from the Rav: Pinchas

Numbers 28:15 וּשְׂעִיר עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּאת לַיהֹוָה And one young male goat for a sin offering to the Lord. The Talmud (Chullin 60b, quoted by Rashi on this verse) indicates that at the dawn of creation the sun and moon were of equal size, until the moon approached God and complained that two kings cannot wear one crown. In response, ...

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Character Counts

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Ki Tetzei, Week Two: Character Counts Ramban interprets a few of the halachot in this parsha as a matter of shaping our character, a timely reminder that Jews are supposed to care about character in ourselves and in others, are supposed to value good character and react negatively to those who have not yet developed themselves to a minimal level ...

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Drinking Rabbis

by R. Gil Student Generally speaking, a busy rabbi is not allowed to drink alcohol even though most other Jews may freely partake within reason. The Torah (Lev. 10:8-11) forbids priests from ruling on religious matters after drinking wine. Rashi (ad loc., 11) points out that this prohibition applies to anyone who rules on religious matters. No rabbi may teach ...

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Choosing Communal Leaders

by R. Gidon Rothstein 13 Tammuz: R. Uzziel on Choosing Communal Leaders People struggle with ceding power to leaders, however they are chosen, because they may or will take actions the citizenry will dislike. Shu”t Mishpetei Uzziel 4; Choshen Mishpati 3, dated 13 Tammuz 5695 (1935), responded to HaPoel HaMizrachi’s questions about the powers of leaders, and the best way to select them. He starts ...

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