Author Archives: David Brofsky

Rabbi David Brofsky is a senior faculty member at Midreshet Lindenbaum and writes a weekly halakha shiur for the Virtual Beit Midrash (VBM). He is the author of Hilchot Tefilla: A Comprehensive Guide to the Laws of Daily Prayer, and the recently published Hilkhot Moadim: Understanding the Jewish Festivals.

The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century

by David Brofsky The Role and Challenges of Minhag in the 21st Century 1)Aside from the many articles and books mentioned below, I would like to thank those who offered their thoughts and ideas, those helped clarify confusing halakhic sources, and those who read various drafts of this paper. I would also like to thank R. Gil Student for encouraging ...

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Sufganiot and Jewish Law

by R. David Brofsky Introduction This essay is dedicated to a topic central to the observance of Chanuka: Sufganiot (fried donuts). Many attribute the custom of eating sufganiot (i.e. dough fried in oil), to a passage authored by the Rambam’s father, R. Maimon (Sarid Ve-Palit, 1945). He writes: One should not be lenient regarding any custom, even the lightest of ...

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Guests and Travelers on Chanukah

by R. David Brofsky The basic mitzva of ner Ḥanukka is “ner ish uveito” (Shabbat 21b), that a light be kindled in the home each night of Ḥanukka. What should you do if you are away from your bayit on a night of Ḥanukka? The Gemara teaches: R. Sheshet said: A lodger [akhsanai] is obligated in ner Ḥanukka. R. Zeira ...

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The Mitzva to Eat on Erev Yom Kippur and the Teshuva of Yom Kippur

by R. David Brofsky, excerpted from Hilkhot Mo’adim: Understanding the Laws of the Festivals Many customs and laws occupy us on the day preceding Yom Kippur. Some have the custom of visiting cemeteries before Yom Kippur, 1)Rema 605. others participate in kapparot, swinging a live chicken or a small sack of money above their heads, 2)Ibid. and some even have the ...

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The Experience of Rosh HaShana

by R. David Brofsky, excerpted from Hilkhot Mo’adim: Understanding the Laws of the Festivals Rosh HaShana in Tanakh Rosh HaShana, as it appears in Scripture, is somewhat mysterious. The Torah commands: And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, it shall be a holy convocation [mikra kodesh] for you; you shall do no servile work; it ...

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Zakhor

by R. David Brofsky The second of the “four parashot,” Parashat Zakhor, is read on the Shabbat before Purim. Through this reading, which recounts Amalek’s attack against Benei Yisrael in the wilderness, we fulfill the command of “zekhirat Amalek” – remembering Amalek’s hostility: Remember [Zakhor] what Amalek did to you along the way as you left Egypt; how he confronted ...

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Dishwashers and Kashrut

by David Brofsky Introduction The modern kitchen looks much different from the kitchens of the middle ages, and certainly much different from the kitchens of Chazal. Not only are certain foods, and the manner in which they are eaten, different, but even basic kitchen utensils, and the way in which they are used and cleaned, aren’t familiar to us. In ...

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Guests and Travelers on Chanukah

The basic mitzva of ner Ḥanukka is “ner ish uveito” (Shabbat 21b), that a light be kindled in the home each night of Ḥanukka. What should you do if you are away from your bayit on a night of Ḥanukka? The Gemara teaches: R. Sheshet said: A lodger [akhsanai] is obligated in ner Ḥanukka. R. Zeira said: At first, when ...

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