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.

Women’s Prayer Groups – R. J. David Bleich’s Position

R. J. David Bleich is, in my opinion, an unfortunately under-appreciated giant of our generation. He holds a PhD in Philosoephy, lectures on Hullin and other subjects to semihah students at Yeshiva University, is a co-head of a kollel for dayanus at YU, teaches at Yeshiva College and Cardozo Law School and is a world-renowned expert on bio-medical ethics. He ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Eliezer Berkovits’ Position

In his book, Jewish Women in Time and Torah, R. Eliezer Berkovits discusses many issues regarding contemporary women and has a short section on Women’s Prayer Groups (pp. 74-83). R. Eliezer Berkovits studied in the Hildesheimer Institute in Berlin under the great scholar R. Yehiel Ya’akov Weinberg (author of Seridei Eish) and briefly served as a congregational rabbi in Nazi-dominated ...

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Religious Philosophy

In trying to explain the Medieval Ashkenazic community’s self-image of piety, Dr. Haym Soloveitchik (“Religious Law and Change: The Medieval Ashkenazic Example” in AJS Review Fall 1987) lists as one source for this attitude their simplicity of beliefs. As an explanation of this, he writes (p. 213): [R]eligious philosophy is an act of justification. It seeks to make the beliefs ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Yehuda Henkin’s Position II

Introduction I wrote in an earlier post in describing the writings of R. Yehuda Henkin: However, I do not believe that his responsa will ever become mainstream because his method of approaching a question is fairly unique and idiosyncratic. Let me once again clarify that I did not intend to insult R. Henkin with this comment. I was trying to ...

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Persia and the Talmud

As a Yeshiva University alumnus, I get quite a bit of mail from the school that I place directly into the garbage. Last week I received a copy of YU Today but did not immediately throw it out because a picture of R. Hershel Schachter on the cover caught my eye. I proceeded to read that article, which was entirely ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Yehuda Henkin’s Position

The time has come to summarize and critique the writings of those who permit Women’s Prayer Groups. The first in this series is R. Yehuda Henkin, although as we shall see he does not entirely fit into this group. R. Yehuda Henkin is the grandson of the renowned ga’on R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, who was a world-recognized posek in the ...

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Traffic Laws in Halakhah

Traffic laws in frum circles fall under the category of “lesser commandments which a person [sometimes] treads on with his heels” (Rashi, Devarim 7:12) except that they can really be among the hamuros and not just “lesser commandments” because reckless driving puts people’s lives in danger. From’s Business Halacha class, written by R. Tzvi Shpitz and translated into English ...

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Interfaith Dialogue III

R. Mayer Twersky enters the printed debate in this week’s devar Torah from Torah Web: In general, psak halacha is exclusively reserved for talmidim shehigiu lhora’a, great torah sages. Chazal unequivocally condemn those who are not qualified to pasken, and yet do so. He is a wicked, delusionary, and arrogant person.(such people) increase divisiveness, destroy the world, extinguish the lamp ...

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Agudath Israel and the Internet

Also from this month’s The Jewish Observer (table of contents page). In case anyone is interested, this is their internet policy: The Jewish Observer has devoted a great deal of space to the perils of the Internet and to the need for everyone to be extremely vigilant in its use. We have echoed the pleas of our gedolim that it ...

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