Magazine

Vort from the Rav: Ki Sisa

Exodus 32:19 וַיַּשְׁלֵךְ מִיָּדָיואֶת־הַלֻּחת and he flung the tablets from his hands. There is a disagreement among Chazal regarding the circumstances surrounding the breaking of the Tablets. Most opinions maintain that Moses intentionally broke the Tablets since he did not want to present them to the idolatrous nation. To support this premise, there is a passage in Bava Batra (14b) ...

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Atheists and Mitzvos

Everyone fulfills commandments at some point, even if only incidentally. But can the actions of an idolator or a non-believer count as mitzvos, as fulfillments of the divine command, when they are not intended as such? The Ramban answers in the negative and leaves open the possibility that a devout Christian has more mitzvos than a Jewish atheist. There are ...

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Vort from the Rav: Tetzaveh

Exodus 28:6 וְעָשׂוּ אֶת־הָֽאֵפֹד And they shall make the ephod Rashi writes: I have not heard nor have I found a baraisa which explains [the ephod’s] design. However, my heart tells me that it is belted around its back…” Rashi continues with a description of how he believed the Ephod was designed. How could Rashi provide such a detailed picture ...

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Mitzvot and Kedushah

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik There are many ways to classify the mitzvot of the Torah. One of the most common approaches is to view some commandments as referring to obligations Bein Adam LaMakom, divine directives that refer to G-d – man relationships, and others as Bein Adam Lechaveiro, obligations between man and his fellow man. Rav Soloveitchik ...

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When Is A Kiddush Not A Kiddush?

The common shul kiddush presents a puzzling halakhic case because it seems to contradict a basic rule. Kiddush must be part of a meal. However, the shul kiddush is generally not a meal as classically defined in Jewish law because it lacks bread/challah. A Shabbos meal should contain two challos yet most people eat no challah at all at a ...

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Is Stand-Up Comedy Kosher?

The question of stand-up comedy’s propriety comes from the same source as its benefits. Humor, we are told, is the best medicine. It relieves stress, spreads joy and serves as a break from our busy lives. At its best, it can also serve as social commentary and political criticism, sometimes sparking positive change. In theory, comedy can inspire teshuvah by ...

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Respecting Parents – Honoring Parents

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik There are two mitzvot governing the obligations of a child towards his parents. One of these mitzvot is Kibbud, honoring one’s parents, “Kabbeid  et  Avicha V’et  I’mecha” (Shemot 20:12, while the other is Morah, “Ish  imoh  veAviv  Ti’ra’uh”  having reverence of one’s parents (VaYikra 19:3).  Kibbud involves taking care of the parents’ physical ...

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Vort From The Rav: Terumah

Exodus 25:10 וְעָשׂוּ אֲרוֹן They shall make an ark. Maimonides in Hilchos Beis Habechira (1:6) states “vessels must be made for the Temple.” Maimonides includes within the mitzvos of building the Temple the fashioning of the various Temple vessels, the reason being that he maintains that both the building of the Temple and housing its vessels constitute one fulfillment, one ...

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Hashem’s Direct and Indirect Influence

Derashot haRan, I’ve been suggesting in these columns, is Ran’s sustained attempt to analyze the balance between the world following its course and Hashem actively intervening. This fourth Derasha is going to grapple with those issues even more explicitly than the previous ones. In this series * 1: Drasha 1: Communities, Combination and Creation * 2: Drasha 1: What Science ...

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