Author Archives: Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor 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 currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four 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.

Rabbis and Traveling to the Moon

The 1969 landing on the moon was a monumental achievement for mankind, and the leading Torah scholars of the time were as impressed as everyone else in the world. Here are some interesting reactions to this event. I. May Man Travel to the Moon? R. Hershel Schachter writes in the name of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Beis Yitzhak Journal, no. ...

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Ga Ga Over Google

The J-blogosphere (e.g. I, II) has been taking notice of Google Scholar, a new service by Google that allows the searching of academic journals. However, I believe that a development of far more significance is Google Print. Google Print puts the content of books where you can find it most easily; right in Google search results. To use Google Print, ...

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A Defense of Chosenness

God’s Beloved: A Defense of Chosenness by R. Meir Soloveichik At this point the objection may understandably be raised: Does this mean that Judaism rejects the equality of man before God? Can a Jew indeed affirm the democratic ideal, according to which “all men are created equal” on account of rights “endowed by their Creator?” The answer is that while ...

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Beruriah’s Fate

From Sefer Ha-Hayim: Beruriah, the scholarly wife of the Tanna R. Meir, is mentioned a handful of times in the Talmud, always in a very positive light. It is therefore surprising that Rashi, in his commentary to Avodah Zarah (18b), should relate a very negative story about Beruriah in which she ends up committing suicide. There is no extant earlier ...

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Ittur Soferim

Marc B. Shapiro, in his book The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles Reappraised p. 111, states that R. Ashier ben Yehiel (the Rosh) is of the view that the Men of the Great Assembly (scholars around the time of Ezra) removed various letters in the Torah, a process called “Ittur Soferim.” Additionally, the Netziv cites this Rosh approvingly, ...

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On Egalitarianism and Halakhah

I pulled out a somewhat-old issue of Tradition (Summer 2002) to look up an article on stem cell research and realized that I had never finished reading a different article in that issue. So I took the time this morning to read it. The article is “On Egalitarianism and Halakha” by Marc D. Stern. I remember being disappointed that the ...

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Citation of Non-Orthodox Scholars IV

An Addendum: In 1940, Prof. Samuel Atlas of Hebrew Union College published in London the novellae of Ra’avad of Posquierres on Bava Kamma with his critical notes, along with some notes from his friend R. Yehiel Ya’akov Weinberg. In 1963, this was reprinted in Jerusalem and New York. In 1971, the question was posed to R. Menashe Klein whether one ...

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Halakhic Wills

I wrote a long post on the subject of wills in halakhah but decided not to post it. The issue is serious and the lack of a will may cause children to fight over money during a time of mourning and possibly violate the prohibition against stealing. For the proper way to write a will according to halakhah, see this ...

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