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.

Natural Disasters and Rabbinic Explanations II

Some commenters have objected that the sole example I brought of a talmudic explanation for a reason behind the destruction of the Second Temple was inadequate and even seemed to prove that one could not offer reasons for such tragedies without prophecy. I will correct that here by citing a whole list of sins to which the destruction was attributed. ...

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Hirhurim, the E-Book

I’m beginning to put together the posts on this blog into book format. The plan is for it to be a free e-book. I need to make some editorial decisions on what to cut and what to keep. Please post in the comments section what you think should not be included in the book and what should be. Thank you

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Natural Disasters and Rabbinic Explanations

I In wake of the recent tragedy in the Far East, whose deadly repercussions are still being felt, some rabbis have tried to find reasons for the “natural” disaster. One sin in particular that I have seen attributed as the cause is inappropriate talking in the synagogue. I am sure there are other sins that have also been blamed. After ...

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Who? Where? When? II

Kudos to Chakira for correctly identifying the Mystery Rabbi as R. Marcus (Mordechai) Horovitz, one of R. Esriel Hildesheimer’s top two students (the other being R. David Zvi Hoffmann), son-in-law of R. Ya’akov Ettlinger (the Arukh La-Ner), rav of the Gemeinde Orthodox community in Frankfurt Au Main (and hence R. Samson Raphael Hirsch’s archenemy), close friend of Orthodox historian R. ...

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Who? Where? When?

Hirhurim is sponsoring a Name The Mystery Rabbi contest. I am posting a picture and, in the comments section, entrants must guess the name of the rabbi. The first person to get it right wins. If no one guesses the name right, then the first person to guess the place in which he lived wins. After that, the person to ...

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A Psalm of Sunamis

My rav pointed to Psalm 46 as one that fits strikingly well with the recent Sunami tragedy. While most commentators take it allegorically, the literal reading resonates well after this past week’s natural disaster. Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the ...

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Non-Kosher Quotes

From Sefer Ha-Hayim: I received some online and offline comments about the title of a recent post on Hirhurim, the origin of which is in the Christian bible. R. Yehuda Henkin has an interesting teshuvah (#26) in volume 4 of Bnei Banim on the subject of whether those who believe that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is the messiah are considered to ...

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Shehitah Controversy V

Some statements from the OU that are worth reading: Statement of Rabbis and Certifying Agencies on Recent Publicity on Kosher Slaughter Message from Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and Rabbi Menachem Genack Setting the Record Straight on Kosher Slaughter Clarification of the Second Cut at Agriprocessors

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Moshe and Mada

The naming of Moshe raises a number of questions. Recall that he was discovered in the water by Pharoah’s daughter and was nursed by his mother. The Torah then tells us, “When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharoah’s daughter, who made him her son. She named him Moshe, explaining, “I drew him (meshisihu) out of the water” ...

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