Posts

Religious Calendar for the Holidays

Ezras Torah has long been famous for its calendars that explain the religious practices of the year, particularly the details of the synagogue service. Most (Ashkenazic) Orthodox synagogues in America use the Ezras Torah calendar when questions arise. The following is a link to the Ezras Torah calendar for the upcoming month of Tishrei. I encourage readers to donate to ...

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Feeding the Non-Observant

The Gemara (Hullin 107b) writes that a person may not give bread to a servant (shamash) unless he knows for sure that the servant has washed his hands. The Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah on Berakhos (42a in the Rif) add that one may similarly not give food to someone whom one suspects might not recite a blessing before eating. The concern, ...

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Letters on Monkey Business III

There are more letters in The Jewish Week. Here are excerpts from two excellent ones: Very Distressing It was with great sadness that I read the article by Gary Rosenblatt headlined “Rabbinically Incorrect” (July 30) just two days after Tisha b’Av, a day commemorating the destruction of our Holy Temple because of sinas chinam (“improper hatred”). The belittling comments made ...

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The Small Sanctuary

The Talmud (Megillah 29a) expounds on the prophetic verse “I shall become to them a small sanctuary in the countries where they shall come” (Ezekiel 11:16) – that in the times of exile the synagogue is the equivalent of the Temple. Synagogues are not merely a post-exilic invention to facilitate communal prayer but, rather, are part of an historical continuum ...

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The Eagle or the Vulture

Steven I. Weiss is always requesting that bloggers post the content of their rabbi’s speeches. His new blog is now more inclusive and asks us to blog our “spiritual leaders.” Well, here goes. My rabbi spoke about the identity of the nesher, one of the forbidden birds listed in this week’s Torah portion (Devarim 14:12). The nesher has been traditionall ...

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The Path to Humility

From R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik: The awareness of defeat, the path to humility, has five steps. The first is the feeling of dependence. A ben-Torah must realize he is dependent on the advice, guidance, and instruction of someone who has come a few inches closer to the summit of the mountain. The more one knows, the greater the perplexity; the ...

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The Bible Unearthed

Choice excerpts from Kenneth A. Kitchen’s review of Israel Finkelstein’s and Neil Asher Silberman’s The Bible Unearthed in Kitchen’s On the Reliability of the Old Testament: “[A] careful critical perusal of this work – which certainly has much to say about both archaeology and the biblical writings – reveals that we are dealing very largely with a work of imaginative ...

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The Dispersion and Language

The Generation of Dispersion (Dor Ha-Haflagah) is the traditional term to refer to the people who built (or attempted to build) the Tower of Babel (Bereshis 11). The Torah states that the “entire land was safah ehas u-devarim ahadim” which seems to imply that everyone in the world spoke one language and that, as a consequence of the failed attempt, ...

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