Author Archives: Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, 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 has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He 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.

Secular Dates

My post from yesterday raised the issue of using secular dates. It is worth noting that the Rema in responsum 51 says that he is writing in December 1546 “le-misparam.” The Havos Ya’ir (184) quotes a book published in 1428 “le-misparam.” The Hasam Sofer in a responsum (Even Ha-Ezer 43) discusses a case about a soldier whose death was ascertained ...

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R. Barry Freundel, Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s Response to Modernity, pp. 257, 260-262 [F]rom our earliest discussion of the subject, Judaism has never taken what one might describe as either a pro-choice or a pro-life position… A contemporary discussion that incorporates and illustrates many of the elements just detailed is the debate between Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg and Rabbi Moses Feinstein on ...

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The Eternity of the Torah V

Months of the Year I. Changing Months R. Yosef Albo, in his Sefer Ha-Ikkarim (3:16) poses a number of challenges to the principle of the eternity of the Torah. Let us examine one of these questions. He notes that the Torah (Ex. 12:2) commands: “This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first ...

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Metzitzah II

From an RCA press release: Based upon a careful study of the available halachic and scientific literature, as well as a review of sanctioned practice by numerous reliable Torah authorities past and present, it is the position of the RCA that the requirement of Metzitzah is fulfilled completely and unambiguously by the use of oral suctioning through a tube, as ...

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On the Daf

As the new cycle of Daf Yomi begins, YU Torah is featuring short comments in, I believe, written and audio form, from R. Daniel Z. Feldman (here). The project is only beginning but it looks like it will be a massive undertaking.

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A Defense of Simple Faith

A few years ago, I sent the following letter to the author of a very rationalist Orthodox website who claimed that simple faith is foolish (I also posted it to the Avodah e-mail list (lightly edited): Dear Rabbi X, I would like to compliment you on a well-designed and eye-pleasing website. You have clearly spent a lot of time in ...

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NY State Kosher Registry

The Kosher Law Protection Act of 2004 requires that consumers of food represented as kosher in New York be provided with information identifying the person or organization certifying that food as kosher. To do so, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is establishing an on-line registry of food represented as kosher. Those involved in the kosher food ...

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Daf Yomi Siyum Ha-Shas

I congratulate all the Daf Yomi maggidei shi’ur on learning and teaching the entire Babylonian Talmud (well, actually just the parts with Gemara). I also give a hearty mazel tov to those who studied on their own or attended lectures, and accomplished a little or a lot. Here is the question: Is there value in attending a Daf Yomi lecture ...

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The Limits of Non-Literal Interpretation of Scripture

One of the contributions to the Open Access Project is an essay by Dr. Joshua Golding titled “On the Limits of Non-Literal Interpretation of Scripture from an Orthodox Perspective” (PDF). I posted a review of some of the Rishonim on this topic here. Please post substantive comments to that forum and regular flame here. Thank you.

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