Author Archives: Eliezer Melamed

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed is Head of Yeshivat Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish Law. His works include the Peninei Halacha series on Jewish law and a popular weekly column "Revivim" in the Besheva newspaper. Some of Rabbi Melamed's books are currently being translated into English. These articles are excerpts from the authorized translations, with occasional brief introductions by the editor.

The Responsibility of Both Parents for Child Support

by R. Eliezer Melamed The Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Chief Rabbi David Lau should be praised and commended for the Chief Rabbinate Council’s resolution establishing that financial responsibility for children applies to both parents, and that the income of both parents must be taken into consideration when setting child support payments. To date, the prevailing view in the state-run ...

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On Reform Judaism and Reform Jews

by R. Eliezer Melamed Those who do not accept the fundamentals of Jewish faith are not considered a stream of the Jewish religion * As in academia and medicine, unrecognized titles and activities should be contested * The Reform community in the United States is strong, but encourages fewer olim than the Orthodox, and mainly supports the position of the ...

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Saving the Life of a Terrorist

by R. Eliezer Melamed Is It A Mitzva To Save A Terrorist In Danger? Several years ago, a terrorist attempted to kill a Jewish boy in the center of Jerusalem. Thank God, the boy was only slightly wounded. People at the scene chased angrily after the terrorist, seeking revenge. Suddenly, a woman (who happened to work for a haredi newspaper) arrived at ...

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Differentiating between Good and Evil

by R. Eliezer Melamed Many questions have arisen following the arrest, investigation and indictment of the youths suspected of committing crimes of violence and murder. The most important question is how to prevent adolescents, from upstanding families, from falling into deplorable and destructive behavior. It is fruitless to speak about the suspicion of serious crimes, because it may turn out ...

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A Minimum of Six Hours

by R. Eliezer Melamed Q: Rabbi, you have written extensively about the obligation to study Torah on Shabbat. How can it be that this mitzvah is unknown to the public, and does not appear in any books on halakha? Not only that, rabbi – you have devised a ‘chiddush‘ (a novelty) – that one must learn at least six hours on Shabbat. Shouldn’t such ...

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Understanding Selichot

by R. Eliezer Melamed Since the times of the Geonim (589-1038), Jews have kept the custom of rising in the early hours of the morning (‘ashmoret ha’boker’) during the Ten Days of Repentance (‘Aseret Yemei Teshuva’) to recite Selichot (penitential poems and prayers). Contrary to the popular misconception that the objective of Selichot is to pray for one’s individual life, ...

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Dealing With Different Prayer Formats

I. In What Cases Is One Permitted to Change His Nusach? As I discussed elsewhere, one must maintain his family’s minhag. The Chachamim based this statement on the verse, “Al titosh torat imecha,” meaning, “Do not abandon your mother’s teachings” (Proverbs 1:8). However, this custom is no more important than other laws, and therefore it is often superseded. For example, ...

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Demeaning the Holy Days

by R. Eliezer Melamed An important principle is articulated in Mishna Avot (3:11): “Rabbi Elazar Ha-Moda’i says: ‘One who desecrates holy foods, one who demeans the holy days … and one who expounds the Torah not in accordance with halakha, even if he has Torah study and good deeds to his credit, has no share in the World to Come.’” ...

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The Meaning of Matza

by R. Eliezer Melamed Matza, symbolizing our recognition that the spiritual roots of things are beyond our grasp even though God granted us the ability to operate within and improve the world, is the opposite of ĥametz. Therefore, on Pesaĥ, when we are engaged with the most fundamental elements of faith, we do not mix even one iota of ĥametz ...

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Homosexuality: The Malady of Our Generation

by R. Eliezer Melamed The Need to Address the Issue of Homosexuality Recently, we have witnessed serious accusations, public and blatant, from members of the LGBT community against the religious community and the Torah. Their position is adamant and defiant: they are not willing to accept the validity of a position opposing sexual relations with a member of the same sex. ...

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