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.

Semicha (Part I of III)

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Semicha refers to a diploma which certifies the recipient’s proficiency in halacha,[1] and authorizes him to serve as a rabbi. However, semicha in its classical sense refers to the ancient hallowed ordination which traces its lineage from teacher to student all the way back to Moshe Rabbeinu. The Torah tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu ordained Yehoshua ...

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Using the Title “Rabbi”

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin A rabbi is often faced with some uncertainty as to how he should introduce himself. One option is to introduce himself by saying “Hello, my name is Rabbi So-and-so”. However, perhaps introducing oneself with one’s rabbinic title is overly assertive and may appear to convey a sense of arrogance. Another option is to omit the title ...

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Scholars and Peace

We’ve discussed before the puzzling talmudic statement (Berakhos 64a) that Torah scholars increase peace in the world (link). I was thinking of a possible interpretation loosely inspired by R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s approach in his introduction to Peirushei Ivra. R. Henkin points out that this statement uses the word “increase” regarding Torah scholars. However, based on Isaiah (45:7), in our ...

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Birkat Hamazon: Preliminary Tehillim

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin It is customary recite a preliminary chapter of Tehillim before reciting the birkat hamazon after meals. On weekdays, the general custom is to recite chapter 137, “Al Naharot Bavel”, which is intended to remind us of the destruction of Jerusalem and the current exile.[1] The Zohar states that one who derives pleasure from bread and enjoys ...

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Thunder and Lightning

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin The Talmud teaches that one should recite a blessing upon a number of different natural phenomena, including upon hearing thunder and seeing lightning. As the Mishna states: If one sees shooting stars, earthquakes, thunder, winds, or lightning, one recites the blessing “…shekocho u’gevurato maleh olam” (Blessed is He Whose might fills the world).[1] Interestingly, the Talmud ...

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Illicit But Still Free Speech

There was a recent development in my ongoing conversation with critics of this blog’s fairly liberal policy on commenting. The NY Times has an editorial today about a court decision last week (link). A judge dismissed a lawsuit against Craigslist which claimed that the website promotes prostitution. Among the editorial’s points: Click here to read more “As Congress has recognized, ...

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Cheshvan or Marcheshvan?

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin (This post is an adaptation of “What’s the truth about Mar Cheshvan?” by Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, Jewish Action Magazine, Fall 2000)The true name for the eighth month on the Jewish calendar is actually the one word “Marcheshvan” or “M’rachsh’van” and not “Cheshvan”, as it is frequently referred to. For the most part, however, the various ...

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Living above a Synagogue

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Not only is a synagogue a holy place which must be treated with great reverence, but the requirement to show this reverence often extends to areas above the synagogue, as well. There are a number of reasons as to why this is so. It is explained that the roof of a synagogue is comparable to the ...

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Praying with a Minyan

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin It is somewhat unclear whether or not praying with a minyan is truly an obligation or merely a recommended or meritorious practice. The confusion lies in the wording of the Shulchan Aruch in which Rabbi Yosef Karo writes that “one should make an effort to pray with a minyan”.[1] Nevertheless, many contemporary halachic authorities insist that ...

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“Leishev Basukka”

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin The only instance that the “leishev basukka” blessing may be recited according to all opinions is prior to eating a meal which includes bread. When beginning a meal, the leishev basukka blessing is recited immediately following the hamotzi blessing, even before one begins to eat the bread.[1] Similarly, common custom is to recite the leishev basukka ...

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