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.


The incident between Shekhem and Dinah, and the subsequent reaction of Dinah’s brothers, seems quite puzzling at a first reading. The Midrash Rabbah tells us that Shekhem had seduced Dinah into sleeping with him.[1] Thus, we are speaking of a consensual relationship. Even according to the view that Shekhem initially forced Dinah, the Gemara in Yoma (77b) implies that certainly ...

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Midrash Halakhah

The written and oral Torahs are generally connected, even if that connection is not always clear. Oral laws were given as a tradition to Moshe and were transmitted over the generations. However, it is not always easy to remember lists of laws so various generations sought to support these laws from the biblical text. Some place the generation of Ezra, ...

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Musar and Benjamin Franklin

From Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog: Conventional wisdom among “those is the know” is that a classic Musar work that was enthusiastically supported by R. Yisrael Salanter, Sefer Heshbon Ha-Nefesh, is a Hebrew translation of Benjamin Franklin’s memoirs. This, of course, does not diminish the utility of the book. Any book can be helpful if written with wisdom and insight, regardless of ...

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The Perils of Blogging

Dilbert aptly expresses the difficulty in blogging: One of the downsides of writing a blog is that there are always people who know more, are smarter, think more clearly, are more articulate, and are more polished than the blogger. At least that is true in my case. So, when faced with contrary views, I have three options: admit defeat, defend ...

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Ya’akov’s Altar

Ya’akov had an amazing dream that awed and inspired him. He recognized God’s presence in the place where he was sleeping. Clearly, this was a moment of spiritual inspiriation. So what did Ya’akov do? He went back to sleep and then woke up early the next morning to build an altar. Why did he go to sleep? Why didn’t he ...

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Mathematics and Religion

Once, while I was being examined for entrance to a fairly right-wing yeshiva, the rosh yeshiva asked me what my college major was. When I answered math, he told me that most great talmudic scholars have a natural affinity to math. I had always assumed that this was due to the logic aspect of math and its similarity to talmudic ...

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