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.

Mazal Tov

I wish a hearty mazal tov to R. Baruch Simon and Ms. Mellanie Keller on their engagement. May their current joy remain constant throughout their lives.

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The Adoption of Heterodox Practices III

Counter-Examples In this series * Number 1 * Number 2 * Number 3 * Number 4 Despite this long list of precedents, there have been many cases in history in which the prohibition against imitating sectarians was not invoked despite its seeming appropriateness. For example, the Reform movement championed the synagogue sermon in the vernacular, rather than Yiddish, and the ...

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Prophecy in Exile

The Rambam is of the view that prophecy is a level of human perfection that any person can, in theory, attain by rising to a high moral and intellectual level. When a person reaches this lofty level, he will attain a prophetic connection to God. However, God retains the right to sever that connection if He sees fit. This general ...

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Sick To My Stomach

DIGRESSION: The entire “Rav Schachter Scandal” has made me sick to my stomach. It is times like these that remind me why I no longer live in the Modern Orthodox community. For a community that claims not to believe in the infallibility of gedolim to crucify one of their own greatest minds for using a turn of phrase that could ...

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The Adoption of Heterodox Practices II

(continued from here) In this series * Number 1 * Number 2 * Number 3 * Number 4 Modern Applications The first modern halakhist that this author was able to find who applied this passage in practice was the great authority R. Moshe Sofer, the famed Hatam Sofer. Perhaps surprisingly, his utilization of this prohibition was not in the form ...

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New York Water V

The following is a statement I received from the OU. Keep in mind that this is not a pesak but a statement that until the OU reaches a final decision it will accommodate those who wish to be strict. This is also certainly not meant as a pesak for individuals. As it ends, and this cannot be emphasized enough, “As ...

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The Adoption of Heterodox Practices

The following is the first installment from an article I have written. I submitted it for publication last year but it got rejected by a grumpy editor who wanted changes. I made those revisions but decided to just blog it instead of resubmitting it for publication. After I finish posting all of the pieces, I’ll find somewhere on the web ...

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The World That Was

The Jewish Press has a review of an excellent new book by Sha’ar Press, The World That Was: America 1900-1945: Transmitting the Torah Legacy to America by Rabbi A. Leib Schneinabum. The review lauds this attempt to present history accurately, without modernist revision to make the past look like the current. I read one chapter of the book and agree ...

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Forbidden Mixtures

Following up on a discussion in the comments section about whether one can merely look at the ingredients of an item and determine whether it is kosher, I present the following sources. This is not intended as a well-researched or thorough post. I just pulled some stuff together after dinner. Regarding whether something that one cannot taste is permissible to ...

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R. Yitzhak (Prof. Isadore) Twersky z”l

A post at the House of Hock led me to a website with a collection of writings from R. Yitzhak (Prof. Isadore) Twersky z”l. Given his ground-breaking academic accomplishments and his life-long dedication to honest and uncompromising Torah, I thought it worthwhile to blog a link to this website.

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