Author Archives: Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of the “Dalet Amot of Halacha” series (8 volumes), Rabbinic Director of United with Israel and a RA"M at a number of yeshivot.

Baruch Shem K’vod Malchuto… (II)

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin …continued from here: The phrase “baruch shem…” has other uses and appears in other places, as well. The most famous of these appearances is in the twice daily recitation of kriat shema. The practice of saying “baruch shem…” after the “shema yisrael…” originates with Yaakov Avinu who gathered his children together just before he died ...

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Baruch Shem K’vod Malchuto… (I)

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin As God’s name is considered sacred, mentioning His name without a justified need is deemed to be sacrilegious and must be avoided whenever possible. This is reminiscent of the third of the Ten Commandments which tells us never to take God’s name in vain.[1] It is, of course, permitted to address God and use His name in ...

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Fast Days: The Torah Reading

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin One will notice that in the course of the Fast Day Torah reading there are verses that are first recited out loud by the congregation which are then repeated by the ba’al koray. This happens during the Kohen aliya with the verse: “shuv m’charon apecha…” and then again in the Yisrael aliya with the verse: “Hashem ...

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The Dreidel Game

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin The dreidel is, of course, the four-sided top which has become almost synonymous with Chanuka. It is believed that playing dreidel likely began in response to the evil Greek decree which completely banned all Torah study. Not surprisingly, this decree was ignored by Torah scholars. When the Greek soldiers were seen approaching the schools and other ...

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Chanuka & Card Games

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Closely related to the custom of playing dreidel on Chanuka is that of playing cards. Playing cards on Chanuka likely become popular due to an ancient and lesser-known rabbinic decree that only permitted one to play cards on days on which tachanun is not recited.  Since Chanuka offered an extended break from tachanun many individuals took the opportunity ...

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By: Rabbi Ari Enkin  Although the morning prayers essentially begin with the Modeh Ani and the accompanying morning blessings, it is actually only with the call of “Barchu” that the congregation is officially summoned to come together to pray. In fact, in days gone by, there were many communities where the practice was to recite the Pesukei d’Zimra at home ...

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Kiddush Levana II

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Although technically Kiddush Levana may be recited upon the first sighting of the new moon,[1] common custom is never to do so. Most people wait at least 3 days, 72 full hours, after the appearance of the new moon before reciting Kiddush Levana.[2] The deadline for reciting it is no later than 15 full days.[3] Some ...

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Kiddush Levana I

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin The monthly recitation of Kiddush Levana is as much mystical as it is ritual. Each month, shortly after the appearance of the new moon, a special blessing and series of prayers are recited in praise of the moon’s renewal. Sefardim generally refer to this ritual as “Birkat Halevana”, referring to the opening blessing recited upon the ...

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Facing Jerusalem

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin One should always face the Land of Israel, and more specifically, Jerusalem, when praying.[1] The source for facing Jerusalem when one prays derives from the prayer of King Solomon[2] who requested of God that He answer all prayers that are recited while facing Jerusalem. Additionally, the Temple Mount is poetically referred to as “Talpiot” which is ...

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Hachnassat Orchim

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin The mitzva of Hachnassat Orchim in its purest form consists of hosting and serving the needs of those who are destitute and have no place to eat or sleep. In the olden days, before the proliferation of inns or hotels, a Jew who had found himself stuck in an unfamiliar village would be at the mercy ...

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