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.

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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Sanhedrin in Tiberias

[Background: There is a current attempt to reestablish the Sanhedrin, the great court that carries many legislative and judicial powers in the Jewish religion.] “I remember how [R. Joseph B Soloveitchik] concluded his eulogy for his uncle the Gri”z [R. Yitzhak Soloveitchik, the “Brisker Rav”] and said (in his very dramatic style of presentation) that we are living in an ...

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Hats on Shabbos

I have seen and heard a number of times the question asked – always with an actual or implied malicious grin – whether one is allowed to wear a fedora hat on Shabbos. The issue is as follows: The Gemara in Eruvin (102b) relates: Rav Shisha the son of Rav Idi said: “[Wearing] a felt hat [on Shabbos] is permissible.” ...

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Another RIETS Item

Got this in an e-mail: Yeshiva University is pleased to announce its newest and most exciting community learning initiative – KOLLEL YOM RISHON! Come and experience the Torah of Yeshiva every Sunday morning in YU’s Main Beit Midrash! Every week features a short seder followed by 2 shiurim from YU roshei yeshiva. The Kollel Yom Rishon Program is open to ...

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RIETS in the News II

Now it’s official: Oct 15, 2004 — Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel today announced the appointment of Rabbi Kenneth Brander of Boca Raton, FL, as the inaugural dean of the Center for the Jewish Future, effective July 1, 2005. The Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) will serve as the nucleus and central focus of YU’s educational ...

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