Tradition Summer 2013

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The new issue of Tradition 46:2 (Summer 2013) made me realize that the journal has lately included more practical halakhah. This is a very interesting and welcome development. Sensitive and nuanced discussions of Jewish law are important.

  • “If You Want to Know the Law and Nothing Else” by R. Shalom Carmy – Rabbi Carmy’s column has become an incisive critique of the Orthodox community, diagnosing the spiritual maladies we face. I don’t think it has received the attention it deserves. These columns should make everyone carefully rethink their attitudes and behaviors. The latest is a distinction between Halakhic Man and Legalistic Man, both committed to Jewish law but the former internalizing its values and the latter interested in rules and nothing else.
  • The Fragility of Life and the Meaning of Time: Rambam on Repentance by R. Ari Berman – A great derush with academic footnotes. Rosh Hashanah is about changing your life course; Yom Kippur is about repenting from sins.
  • Contemporary Ashkenazi Pesak Regarding the Invalidation of Conversion by R. Yosef Zvi Rimon – A review of the arguments in the mass invalidation of conversion over the past few years. Shows both sides but clearly views the invalidation unfavorably.
  • Parental Say in the Life Choices of the Post-Adolescent Child: Some Halakhic Guidelines by Shalom Rosenfeld – When young adults disagree with their parents on key life choices, what halakhic parameters must guide both sides? What are the parents’ obligations to their adult children and vice versa? When can you break an agreement (e.g. to finish college)?
  • Hamez in Lake Kinneret and in the Croton Reservoir by R. J. David Bleich – Explains the complex arguments behind the common-sense decision that you may drink water from a reservoir in which chametz has fallen.
  • Communications by R. Nahum Spirn and R. Yehuda Warburg – An exchange over R. Warburg’s proposal that an agunah sue her husband for damages in a beis din. This is all beyond my expertise but the proposal sounds unlikely to succeed to my layman’s ears.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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