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.

Teaching Up

From a summary of a 1955 speech of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik to RIETS Rabbinic Alumni: The Rav described the new intellectual stature of the young American Jewish layman and their search for depth. Only the rabbi who is a lamdan can satisfy this. Only such a rabbi can sufficiently portray the depth of Jewish learning for an intellectually thirsty ...

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Under-Appreciated Books

There are many books that are under-appreciated. A set that I love are R. Aryeh Kaplan’s The Handbook of Jewish Thought (2 volumes). The author can be accused of being overly eclectic and of reading non-kabbalistic texts within a kabbalistic framework. Nevertheless, the organization, clarity and, most of all, the vast wealth of sources contained in the footnotes make this ...

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Facing the Kohanim

One the first Yom Tov after I was married, in my in-laws’ shul, I noticed someone standing with his back to the kohanim. As we all know, we are not supposed to look at the kohanim during dukhening, so we either look down or cover our faces with a tallis. Therefore, I was and still remain only aware of what ...

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New York Water IV

I received this via e-mail from a source that claims it came from R. Zechariah Gelley of the Breuers community: ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE RABBINATE As you most probably have heard, a Sha’aloh has recently been raised about the water in New York City. Initial reports indicated that this problem did not affect water in Manhattan. However, recent information indicates that ...

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Ayin Ha-Ra

I saw in a syndicated column over the past two weeks a daring attempt to offer “The Real Meaning of Ayin Hora.” Finally, someone will explain this enigmatic concept to the confused public. In the first installment, the author offers the following explanation for ayin ha-ra: The Rishonim tell us that if someone has a talent or an advantage over ...

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R. Soloveitchik’s Impact on American Orthodoxy

Nicht, at the House of Hock, questions what role great people really played in the growth of American Orthodoxy in the twentieth century. In the comments section, Nicht further questions the role that R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik played in that growth. I quote here from R. Emanuel Feldman’s tribute to R. Soloveitchik in Tradition (1996:4): [H]istorians will have to note ...

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American Jewish History in Yeshiva College

Menachem Butler is running a contest for those who can answer the following question: Why should a course in American Jewish History be offered to undergraduates at Yeshiva College? The following was my answer, which won me a G-mail account. To be fair, it was inspired by an excellent speech I heard earlier this month by Richard Joel. YC graduates ...

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R. Dovid Lifschitz zt”l

Mochassid reminds us that today is the yahrtzeit of R. Dovid Lifschitz zt”l. More than his years of strength, I remember his last year and how his health deteriorated. You can tell the dignity of a man by how he acts when he is left without his full faculties. Reb Dovid was a man flowing with dignity and love of ...

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