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.

The Haredization of American Orthodoxy

Chaim Waxman has an interesting article in the most recent Edah Journal. Below are excerpts in which he offers explanations and descriptions about the apparent “haredization” of the Orthodox Community. Interesting thoughts. (Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this author is the son-in-law of R. David Lifschitz.) Some find it ironic that many of the new ...

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Torah and Taharah

In a comment, Kochav wrote: Does the learning of Torah (just learning – even if it’s Zevachim and Keilim) make one a better person/mentsch? If not, then our question is how can we teach morals to these intellectuals. If one has yiras shamayim then learning Torah will further purify your soul. However, if one lacks a fear of God and ...

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The Limits of Orthodox Theology III

Menachem Kellner reviews Marc Shapiro’s book. I have not yet had a chance to read the review but I’m sure, based on Kellner’s hazakah, that it is correct on almost every minor point but entirely wrong on the big picture. UPDATE: Some first thoughts. Kellner was actually wrong on some minor points as well. Kellner writes: Pre-emancipation Judaism was an ...

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Organ Donation

I’ve been asked more than once to discuss organ donation. This isn’t the post in which I will. But I do want to point out the long list of rabbis that the Halachic Organ Donor Society. Three interesting things to note: Not one member of the RCA’s halacha committee is on the list and at least one person on the ...

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Flatbush Eruv

In case anyone is dying to know my thoughts on the controversial Flatbush Eruv that was officially unveiled a few weeks ago, this website adequately expresses my view. If you held of the old Flatbush Eruv (put up by the Va’ad ha-Rabbanim decades ago) then the new one just adds some hiddurim. If you did not hold of the old ...

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New York Water

This teshuvah from R. Hershel Schachter on the New York water issue was just passed along to me. UPDATE: The teshuvah has been taken down upon request from its source. A new version with a somewhat different conclusion is expected shortly.

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Morality and Brisk

In an article by R. Shalom Carmy cited in the previous two posts, he quotes a former student who wrote to him the following: But in the halakhic world of Brisk does a voice cry out, saying “An Arab too is a gavra, a person”? Do all of these glib distinctions between subject and object teach their discoverers that the ...

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Morality and Halakhah II

Another gem from the previously mentioned article by R. Shalom Carmy: In recent years we often hear from those who insist the old anti-­Semitic propaganda had it right – that the teachings of the Torah about Gentiles are, God forbid, such as would repel those Jews and non-Jews who take common “perennial” morality seriously. The Rabbinic establishment and those it ...

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Who is a Gadol?

I came across an online article by R. Shalom Carmy: “Who Speaks for Torah – And How?” (Religious Zionism, 1989). R. Carmy addresses a number of issues in that article, one of which is Rabbinic Authority. In the course of discussing how to determine who is a gadol and if such an evaluation is possible, he makes the following insightful ...

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The Bialystoker Controversy III

Updating readers on The Bialystoker Controversy… I sat next to the rabbi of the Bialystoker Synagogue at a wedding a few weeks ago. I brought up the controversy in which he was involved and told him my take on the issue. To remind you, this is what I posted a few weeks ago: He could have stopped here and said ...

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