Author Archives: 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.

Hallel on Yom Ha-Atzma’ut

I know this is belated, but I thought readers would find this interesting. There are many views on this subject, but R. Ahron Soloveichik’s is one that tends to get overlooked. The following is from his book Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind: Before turning to the halachic questions raised by Yom Haatzma’ut, we must ask whether 5 ...

Read More »

Judgement

Good questions from Dr. Haym Soloveitchik’s article “Religious Law and Change”: When is an unreflecting faith “religiosity,” and when is it philistinism? When is cowering before a hideous death simply a failure of nerve, and when does it betoken a weakness of the spirit? When is a series of breaches – just that, and when does it signify erosion? When ...

Read More »

Avodah Zarah Wigs II

I found a responsum on the subject of wigs made in India from, surprisingly, a number of years ago. R. Moshe Shternbuch has a long discussion of the various issue in his Teshuvos ve-Hanhagos vol. 2 no. 414 (consider that volume 4 was recently published, so this is an old teshuvah). He concludes that such wigs are assur and that ...

Read More »

The Democratization of Halakhah

House of Hock very graciously mentioned this blog in a post, and I return the favor. I appreciate both the praise and the publicity, but must comment on something I found troubling in their post. In a democracy, every citizen has a vote. Judaism is not a democracy. Not everyone has a vote over what is the halakhah and what ...

Read More »

Morality and Halakhah

A common theme in R. Aharon Lichtenstein’s lectures and essays is that of morality and halakhah. There are many different paths to investigate in the commonalities and divergences between the two, including whether there can be divergences. R. Lichtenstein takes an approach with which I am comfortable, but that I acknowledge is only one of many possible Torah views. In ...

Read More »

Avodah Zarah Wigs

I first heard about this a month or two ago. It seems that there are idolatrous religions in the Far East in which one ritual is the cutting off and donation of hair to their false gods. This hair is then sold for use in wigs that are marketed throughout the world. If it turns out, as many are claiming, ...

Read More »

Kol Ishah III

(continued from here) V. Misexplaining Ervah R. Berman, in elaborating on the Franco-German position that he claimed to have found, explained that one may not recite keri’as Shema while listening to a woman sing because a woman’s voice is distracting. “[T]he central concern with hearing a woman’s voice is not its intrinsic sensuousness, but the purely functional concern that it ...

Read More »

Kol Ishah II

I came across a good online essay by R. Howard Jachter about the practical aspects of kol ishah in contemporary society. Most of the essay is a discussion of contemporary halakhah, but he concludes with the following important statement: Observance of the Kol Isha prohibition is quite challenging for us as this prohibition runs counter to the prevailing Western culture. ...

Read More »

Kol Ishah

It is generally understood that a man is not allowed to hear a woman’s singing voice. Exactly when this applies – only while she is in view or even otherwise, only live or even recorded, etc. – is a complicated matter of dispute that everyone should resolve with their own rabbis. I will not address these important practical topics. Instead, ...

Read More »

Charitable Reading

Texts do not stand on their own. Because no written work can ever be entirely clear, and the ones that come close are of an extremely burdensome length, texts require interpretation. A reader must work on understanding a text and resolving any difficulties that arise. Some written works are incorrect. Other times, however, the writer was simply unclear or left ...

Read More »