The Levels of Torah Law

by R. Gidon Rothstein Starting Part I of the Petihah Kolelet: The Levels of Torah Law Peri Megadim is going to introduce us to the levels of laws in halacha, with examples of why each level has a practical nafka minna, a meaningful difference, what changes if a law is written explicitly in the Torah, for the highest level as an example, as opposed to being ...

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Tetzaveh: Lessons Learned from the Kohanim

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tetzaveh focuses on the kohanim, their garments and how they were to be readied for their new roles. Along the way, we learn about how the Torah sees us them and us, non-kohanim, functioning in a society that follows the Torah. Completeness, Readiness, or Just Qualifying for the Job Onkelos more than once translates the Torah’s use ...

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Peri Megadim’s Petihah Kolelet: Introduction

by R. Gidon Rothstein I believe in hashgahah peratit, Divine Providence extending to individuals. Complicating matters for me, I accept some version of Rambam’s view of it, where more righteous people earn or enjoy a greater level of such Providence. It means I am rarely confident I have experienced such moments, since I have little reason to think I am righteous enough to ...

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Terumah: Preparing For a Mishkan, What and Why

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Terumah opens with Gd’s call to the Jewish people to gather materials for a Mishkan, a “home” for Gd’s Presence. Moshe is told to take collections from the people, of money and materials, and how to put those together, yielding the structure. What Was Collected Voluntarily The Torah speaks of those materials as coming from everyone asher yidvenu ...

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Further Forms of Lashon Ha-Ra

by R. Gidon Rothstein Further Forms of Lashon Ha-Ra, and a Reminder of What It Takes to Greet the Shekhina We’re up to the fourth level of lashon ha-ra, an extension of the prohibition known as avak, the dust of lashon ha-ra. This is also the last post in this current series, so the end has a summary that somewhat stands independent of the content until ...

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Mishpatim: Gd, and Human Relationships

by R. Gidon Rothstein The name and content of Mishpatim alert us to this portion’s focus on laws. At the same time, Rashi in particular and Onkelos to a lesser extent, remind us of Gd’s role even in the realm of human justice. We will see a few of those comments, then some on how the human realm of law would work ...

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When to Spread Negative Information and When Not

by R. Gidon Rothstein Despite What Information Wants, We Should Not Let It Be Free Last time, we defined the two worst types of lashon ha-ra, false and true. Before he moves to the third, Rabbenu Yonah points out an extra wrong in true slander, the greater likelihood it will take root, because people are more likely to believe it [he ...

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Yitro: Gd Really at the Center

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Revelation at Sinai sits central to Yitro, and the first of the Dibberot Gd reveals declares the fact of Gd’s being Gd, as statement or commandment. [A program note: I dislike the translation Ten Commandments for the Aseret Ha-Dibberot; I usually write the Ten Utterances of Pronouncements. Here I’ll just use the Hebrew.] Many of the comments of Onkelos, ...

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Lashon Ha-Ra, False and True

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Severity and Types of Lashon Ha-Ra Last time I stopped sort of in the middle to avoid shortening further the shrift I was giving to Rabbenu Yonah’s reasons to see slanderous speech as a spiritual danger (I almost wrote a grave spiritual danger, but is there any other kind?). His fifth reason starts with the pattern lashon ...

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