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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, 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 and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance 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.


  1. “▪ R Aviner: Shu”t Operation Protective Edge #2”

    “Q: What sin caused the war of Operation Protective Edge?

    A: You don’t know?! It was on account of the horrible sin of destroying Gush Katif, a sin against Hashem, a sin against the Nation and a sin against the people who lived there – and all because of false dreams of peace. After all, when we lived there, there were no missiles or tunnels. We lived in peace and contentment in Gush Katif.”

    This seems to contradict an earlier Shu”T (link was posted here)

    “In the wake of our tremendous pain over the murder of the three innocent teens, a desire has arisen within the Nation to understand why this has happened. The Admor of Satmar, who dwells in the Exile, claims that it is a punishment for the teens learning in the “Settlements” and blames the parents for sending them to learn there.

    We fear that assigning such blame may violate the prohibition of “Ona’at Devarim” (distressing others). As the Gemara in Baba Metzia (58b) says, one may not speak to one who is suffering affliction or illness, or whose children have died, the way Iyov’s friends spoke to him: “Surely your fear was your foolishness, your hope and the sincerity of your ways” (Iyov 4:6). And we can add that the Rishonim on this Gemara write that the problem is not only causing distress to another person but also arrogance in thinking that we can know the ways of Hashem.

    This recalls the reciprocal placing of blame that occurred following the horrors of the Holocaust: Some said that it happened on account of Zionism, others said it was because there was not Zionism. Still others blamed it on the Enlightenment. Each group’s explanation came from its own biased outlook, with no regard for the idea: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways” (Yeshayahu 55:8).”

    • I am convinced that the reason why the mashiach hasn’t yet come is because when we look to identify what sin is causing the delay, each of us point to someone else’s misdeed.

      (Self referential irony noted, but the truth is, I do it too!)

    • R’ Aviner is here giving what seems to him (and me) to be a rational, practical cause. There’s nothing wrong with arguing that, say, differences between the states as to slavery caused the Civil War. Saying that God brought it on because of, say, alcohol use is something different.

      Although Lincoln himself (in his Second Inaugural) said that God brought it as a punishment (on both North and South) for slavery. But people don’t talk like that anymore.

      • Nachum-
        If that’s what he’s saying, fine. (I actually pointed out in a comment that that’s essentially the causality the SR was using in his speech about the murder of the boys). What throws me off is that he’s pointing to the “sin” of disengagement: ‘a sin against Hashem, a sin against the Nation and a sin against the people who lived there.’ That sounds more like a theological cause than a security related one.

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