Magazine

Calling a Kohen Who is a Child

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We sometimes have only one adult kohen and his son, who is under bar mitzva, doing Birkat Kohanim. In that case, should we call out “Kohanim”? Answer: The halacha that you are assuming, that someone calls “Kohanim” before Birkat Kohanim only when there are at least two kohanim, is derived by the gemara (Sota 38a) ...

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Putting Pieces in Place So Moshe Rabbenu Can Leave

by R. Gidon Rothstein Putting Pieces in Place So Moshe Rabbenu Can Leave the Scene Unable, Unwilling, or Not Allowed Moshe Rabbenu introduces the Jewish people to the fact that this is the end of his life with the words, דברים פרק לא:ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֗ם בֶּן־מֵאָה֩ וְעֶשְׂרִ֨ים שָׁנָ֤ה אָנֹכִי֙ הַיּ֔וֹם לֹא־אוּכַ֥ל ע֖וֹד לָצֵ֣את וְלָב֑וֹא Devarim 31;2: He said to them, “I am ...

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Introduction to Rav Kook’s Responsa

by R. Gidon Rothstein 19 Av: Introduction to R. Kook’s Mishpat Kohen One of the pleasures of this series has been “meeting” great rabbis. I have long known R. Kook a bit through his more philosophical writings, but his responsa are a revelation—written in a very different style (one I personally find more straightforward, clear, and accessible), displaying a completely other ...

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The Women’s Section

by R. Gil Student In many Orthodox synagogues, women’s sections are poorly maintained. Whether it’s the lighting, the cleanliness, the availability of siddurim and tissues, air conditioning, or any other number of small and large issues. What are the halakhic implications of the state of discomfort and disrepair of a women’s section? Let’s first note that the often reluctant volunteers ...

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Where Repentance Can Take Us

by R. Gidon Rothstein Repentance that Lasts Last time, we examined aspects of the renewed covenant Hashem made with the Jewish people. The parsha then moves to another warning of the consequences of failure to keep that covenant; after bearing those, the Jews will eventually return (the description here has some interesting similarities to parts of VaEtchanan that we read last week, but that’s ...

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Can We Honor Women?

by R. Gil Student Every year, synagogues, schools and organizations honor people for their contributions and accomplishments. Is it appropriate to honor women or does this violate the norms of modesty? Of course, practice has a voice in this matter and many of these institutions already honor women. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Often, when a married ...

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The Sho’el U-Meishiv

by R. Gidon Rothstein 12 Av: R. Yosef Shaul Nathanson’s 12 Av, 5613 In this series, one of my secondary goals is to learn from and gain a passing familiarity with a wide range of authorities. R. Yosef Shaul Nathanson (1808-75) is someone whom I’d like to include but whose writings I find difficult to summarize effectively. On the twelfth of Av, ...

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Vort from the Rav: Va’eschanan

Deuteronomy 4:9-10: וְהוֹדַעְתָם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ…יוֹם אֲשֶר עָמַדְתָ לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְחֹרֵב and you shall make them known to your children and to your children’s children…the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb. Torah study involves awe and fear, as described in the Gemara (Berachos 22a): [It is written] “You shall make them known to your children ...

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