Author Archives: Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief 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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council 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.

Sarah, Wombs, Hazal and Science

The Torah tells us about Sarah (Bereishis 11:30) “Vatehi Sarah akarah, ein lah valad – Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.” The Gemara in Yevamos 64a-b learns from this verse that not only did Sarah not give birth, she did not have a “beis velad” (uterus) at all. Bereishis Rabbah 53:5 and 63:5 says that Sarah did not ...

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New York Water VI

Several readers have e-mailed me, requesting that I post a link to R. Dr. David Berger’s article in The Jewish Press on the NYC water issue. Even though I am generally a huge fan of Dr. Berger’s, I don’t see anything new or particularly profound in this article. I do not understand how anyone can think that R. David Feinstein ...

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Taxis after Shabbos

I distinctly remember as a teenager borrowing a sefer one Shabbos in shul from a friend who was always carrying around aharonim. Probably the first time I ever looked in a book of responsa, I came across the following issue. I stumbled upon it this Shabbos while looking for something else, and it brought back memories. Here is the question: ...

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Tzadik Ba La-Ir

I was speaking yesterday with a renowkned talmid hakham about the Hasidization of Flatbush. In my opinion, it is more an issue of changing neighborhoods than of religious influence. As further evidence, I just saw signs that the Vizhnitzer Rebbe will be spending this Shabbos in Flatbush. Yes, Flatbush and not Boro Park. And not just any rebbe but one ...

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Let me be clear that I have zero interest in sports. Even among the various sports, I find baseball to be one of the least interesting. However, Soloveitchik trivia is a different story. According to Dr. Jeffrey Woolf, R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik was a Red Sox fan.

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Spitting on Priests

Don’t do it 1. It need not be said that a refined human being does not spit at inanimate objects or at animals, and certainly not at people created in the image of God. Spitting is not the sign of a ba’al mussar. 2. Darkhei Shalom. We feed their poor, visit their sick, violate Shabbos to heal their sick. Of ...

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Shemini Atzeres

A little late, but… The author of the Shulhan Arukh (Orah Hayim 668:1) and the Rama disagree on how to refer to the holiday of Shemini Atzeres in the prayers and kiddush. According to the Shulhan Arukh, one should say “Yom Shemini Hag Ha-Atzeres” and according to the Rama, “Yom Shemini Atzeras Ha-Hag.” The custom of the Gra (Ma’aseh Rav, ...

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Learning vs. Knowing

I. Introduction I remember a number of years ago that R. Norman Lamm spoke at the RIETS hag ha-semikhah (ordination celebration) and urged the newly ordained rabbis to pursue careers in the pulpit. There was, he explained, a desperate need for qualified pulpit rabbis yet, despite this, he sees most new rabbis pursuing careers in education or communal organizations, leaving ...

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R. Shlomo Aviner: Soldiers, Do Not Disobey Orders

R. Shlomo Aviner ruled: Former Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira instructs his students who are soldiers not to fulfill orders to uproot Jews from their homes… Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Beit El, another leading rabbi of the same sector, recently delivered the opposite ruling… Refusing of orders by an Israeli soldier is a matter of national Pikuach Nefesh… If today we ...

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Sanhedrin in Tiberias II

“In our time, after the establishment of the State of Israel, the question of renewing the Sanhedrin was raised by R. Yehudah L. Fishman-Maimon and the view of the giants of Torah in Israel and the exile is – for whatever reason – not to reintroduce semikhah [the original ordination required for a Sanhedrin].” – R. Menahem M. Kasher, Torah ...

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