Posts

Video Game Idolatry

by R. Gil Student I. Video Game Avodah Zarah A recently released, ground-breaking video game raises important questions for Jews, who pride themselves on their devotion to monotheism. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world game, which means that the characters can roam free throughout a vast, imaginary world while attempting to achieve their missions. Throughout ...

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Ba’omer or La’omer?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Which is the correct version of counting the omer – “… yamim la’omer” or “… yamim ba’omer”? Is there a content difference or only a grammatical one between them? Answer: Let’s start with the simple background. Omer is the measurement of barley brought as a korban on the second day of Pesach, and it is ...

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Officiating At A Gay Marriage

by R. Gil Student I. Is Officiating Forbidden? For a long time, I struggled to understand whether there exists any technical barrier to an Orthodox rabbi officiating at a gay wedding. As long as the ceremony is sufficiently different from a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony to avoid confusion, and no unnecessary blessings are recited, what prevents a rabbi from leading ...

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Audio Roundup 2017:17

by Joel Rich A number of years ago, we had a physical meeting (do people do that anymore?) of Hirhurim folks. Someone recently asked me about my statement there about how I speed up shiurim. I’m happy to say I eventually gave up the tape recorder method (effective, but very time consuming). [I still have one and blank tapes if ...

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Where Life Went Wrong

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban on Devarim, Week Two: Where Life Went Wrong Parashat Devarim, and the beginning of Parashat Va-Etchanan reviews the Jews’ time in the desert, Moshe pointing out to them where they misstepped or willfully violated Hashem’s Will. Ramban’s comment to the first verse reads this as prelude to the review of mitzvot, starting from the Aseret ...

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Is History Proof?

by R. Gil Student We like to think that facts will end an argument. More often than not, they only move the battlefield. History is not a science but an art of interpretation. While historical analysis begins with careful research, it continues with inference and explanation. Both are subject to debate. In the Talmud, we find mixed responses to historical ...

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Charity for the Non-Working Poor II

Response to this essay by: Harold Kravitz and Joel Pitkowsky (my response at the end -ed.): As rabbis and members of the Board of Directors for MAZON: a Jewish Response to Hunger, we were dismayed to read an article in Mosaic from 4/4/17 entitled “Does the Torah mandate charity for those who don’t wish to work”.  The article refers to ...

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