Magazine

Vort from the Rav: Balak

Bamidbar 23:9 הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations. Unity in Israel is a basic principle in Judaism. We have formulated this principle in one sentence: You are one, Your name is one, and who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on ...

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Complications of War and Marriage

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Parshat Ki Tetzei, Week One: Complications of War and Marriage Parshat Ki Tetzei opens with the rules for how to treat a yefat to’ar, a woman taken captive in war, whom the soldier expects to marry. Before he can, the Torah tells him, דברים פרק כא:יב וַהֲבֵאתָ֖הּ אֶל־תּ֣וֹךְ בֵּיתֶ֑ךָ וְגִלְּחָה֙ אֶת־רֹאשָׁ֔הּ וְעָשְׂתָ֖ה אֶת־צִפָּרְנֶֽיהָ: (יג) ...

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Moshe’s Sin at the Rock

by R. Gidon Rothstein 6 Tammuz: Tzitz Eliezer on Moshe’s Sin at the Rock I think we sometimes hear the word “responsum” as limited to practical halachic discussions. For some meshivim (and this might depend also on whether the scholar himself collected these letter for publication, or his heirs did), any correspondence on Torah matters qualifies. That means, for example, that some or many responsa deal ...

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Sitting Shiva Is Doing Teshuva

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Judaism has a long history of dealing with the internal Neshama of a person. Our Chazal have wisely devised graduated periods of mourning, during which the mourner can contemplate his feelings of guilt, express his grief and release the built-up tensions caused by bereavement. With the rise of modern ...

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Vort from the Rav: Chukas

Bamidbar 19:1: זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה This is the statute of the Torah. The chukim were classified by our rabbis as unintelligible, enigmatic, mysterious. Though it is forbidden to ask for the reasoning pertaining to certain divine categorical imperatives, we may inquire into the interpretation of the law. There is a difference between explanation and interpretation. Take physics, for example. Physics ...

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Book Reviews

by R. Gil Student My brief reviews of three books in the Summer 2017 issue of Jewish Action Rav and Rebbe By Chaim Dalfin Jewish Enrichment Press New York, 2016 379 pages Rabbi Chaim Dalfin conducted extensive interviews to amass the network of facts and memories about two great Jewish leaders of the twentieth century, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (“the ...

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Going to War

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Shofetim, Week Two: Going to War At the end of the parsha, the Torah tells us about how Jews went to war. Two comments earlier in the portion seem to me to lay some groundwork for success in war (and in life). The King’s Character and Ours דברים יז: כ לְבִלְתִּ֤י רוּם־לְבָבוֹ֙ מֵֽאֶחָ֔יו וּלְבִלְתִּ֛י ...

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Vort from the Rav: Korach

Bamidbar 18:19: כֹּל תְּרוּמֹת הַקֳּדָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר יָרִימוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַיהֹוָה נָתַתִּי לְךָ All the gifts of the holy [offerings] which are set aside by the children of Israel for the Lord I have given to There were 24 mishmaros, “guards,” of kohanim who rotated to perform the priestly duties in the Beis Hamikdash on a weekly basis. Each mishmar would serve ...

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