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 Value of Archaeology

In an otherwise uninteresting article, Newsweek has the following line: The value of archeology is not in validating scripture, but in providing a historical and intellectual context, and the occasional flash of illumination on crucial details. Well said!

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Religious Calendar for the Holidays

Ezras Torah has long been famous for its calendars that explain the religious practices of the year, particularly the details of the synagogue service. Most (Ashkenazic) Orthodox synagogues in America use the Ezras Torah calendar when questions arise. The following is a link to the Ezras Torah calendar for the upcoming month of Tishrei. I encourage readers to donate to ...

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New Blog

Dr. Jeffrey Woolf of Bar Ilan has started a new blog. Here are two articles of his that are available online: I & II And here are Google results on him: I & II

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Feeding the Non-Observant

The Gemara (Hullin 107b) writes that a person may not give bread to a servant (shamash) unless he knows for sure that the servant has washed his hands. The Talmidei Rabbenu Yonah on Berakhos (42a in the Rif) add that one may similarly not give food to someone whom one suspects might not recite a blessing before eating. The concern, ...

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Rabbinic Laws and the Perfection of the Torah

R. Hillel Goldberg, in his column in the Intermountain Jewish News explores the implications of rabbinic ordinances. He first starts by defending the concept of the perfection of the Torah: Why should we not add to or subtract from (i.e., change) the Torah? Because, if G-d is perfect, then the “entire word” of G-d is perfect. It needs no improvement ...

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Letters on Monkey Business III

There are more letters in The Jewish Week. Here are excerpts from two excellent ones: Very Distressing It was with great sadness that I read the article by Gary Rosenblatt headlined “Rabbinically Incorrect” (July 30) just two days after Tisha b’Av, a day commemorating the destruction of our Holy Temple because of sinas chinam (“improper hatred”). The belittling comments made ...

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The Small Sanctuary

The Talmud (Megillah 29a) expounds on the prophetic verse “I shall become to them a small sanctuary in the countries where they shall come” (Ezekiel 11:16) – that in the times of exile the synagogue is the equivalent of the Temple. Synagogues are not merely a post-exilic invention to facilitate communal prayer but, rather, are part of an historical continuum ...

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The Eagle or the Vulture

Steven I. Weiss is always requesting that bloggers post the content of their rabbi’s speeches. His new blog is now more inclusive and asks us to blog our “spiritual leaders.” Well, here goes. My rabbi spoke about the identity of the nesher, one of the forbidden birds listed in this week’s Torah portion (Devarim 14:12). The nesher has been traditionall ...

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The Path to Humility

From R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik: The awareness of defeat, the path to humility, has five steps. The first is the feeling of dependence. A ben-Torah must realize he is dependent on the advice, guidance, and instruction of someone who has come a few inches closer to the summit of the mountain. The more one knows, the greater the perplexity; the ...

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