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Vort from the Rav: Behar

Vayikra 25:36-37 אַל תִּקַּח מֵאִתּוֹ נֶשֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּית … אֶת כַּסְפְּךָ לֹא תִתֵּן לוֹ בְּנֶשֶׁךְ  – You shall not take from him interest or increase…You shall not give him your money with interest. The Torah absolutely forbids charging any type or amount of interest payments on loans. This prohibition is so severe that the Torah devotes five separate injunctions against it: ...

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How Bat Mitzvah Became Orthodox

by Zev Eleff and Menachem Butler In 1972, Kehilath Jeshurun in New York announced the formation of a new synagogue ritual. On December 16, the Upper East Side congregation held a program on Saturday afternoon to “honor four young ladies from our congregational family who have recently reached their twelfth birthday and who are, therefore, recognized by the Jewish community ...

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Audio Roundup

by Joel Rich Interesting article to read (I have the PDF) – Joseph Davis – “The Reception of the Shulchan Arukh and the Formation of Ashkenazic Jewish Identity”. Points to correlations between codifications in the “outside world” and Halacha as well as moving from geographic minhag/identity to others subunits (e.g. ethnic). Any good actuary (or even a poor one) can ...

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Books Received

Moadei HaRav: Public Lectures on the Festivals by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Dr. Shlomo Pick (Urim) Maimonides – Between Philosophy and Halakhah: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s Lectures on the Guide of the Perplexed by Dr. Lawrence Kaplan (Urim) Rabbinic Authority: The Vision and the Reality, Beit Din Decisions in English, Volume 2 by R. A. Yehuda Warburg (Urim)

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The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century

by David Brofsky The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century1 Introduction Throughout the ages, the religious identity and spiritual experiences of a Jewish community were shaped not only by its adherence to halakhic practice, but also by layers of communal and halakhic customs. Individuals, families, communities, and later, entire geographical regions developed all sorts of customs, some ...

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Masorah: A Philosophical User’s Guide

by Alex S. Ozar Masorah: A Philosophical User’s Guide The charge presented to me for this symposium was to discuss the concept of Masorah “from the perspective of philosophy.” At first I was skeptical: Is not the concept an inherently halakhic, historical, and theological one, such that would be more fruitfully engaged through a specifically halakhic, historical, or theological lens? ...

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Symposium on Masorah: Introduction

by R. Gil Student [A condensed version of this introduction appeared in some newspapers this week.] I. The Importance of Masorah The concept of tradition evokes powerful emotions in religious debates. While less orthodox religious streams give tradition a vote, but not a veto, the more conservative segments give it a veto in many circumstances.1 In the latest debates over ...

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Mi Shebeirach

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler One cannot observe Mitzvot conditionally. One cannot say for example, “I will put on Tefillin tomorrow if You [HaShem] do this or this for me”. However, by Tzeddaka it is permissible. “Ha’omer selah Zu li’Tzedaka bishvil she’yich’yeh b’ni” , If someone say I am donating a sela [coin] for ...

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Breaking Doctor/Patient Confidentiality

by R. Gidon Rothstein 13 Iyyar: Tzitz Eliezer on Breaking Doctor/Patient Confidentiality, Burying an Excised Eye Now or Later, and Whether a Fetus is Alive One of the topic areas Tzitz Eliezer sort of specialized in was medical halachah (that’s not to take away from his general expertise, it’s that his role as halachic decisor for Shaare Zedek Medical Center ...

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