Celebrating a Wedding

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Naso Two points of order: I realized last week I had failed to do a chapter of Even HaEzer last round, so we’re going to do two in a row now (I know you may not care about going in a clear cycle through the parts of Shulchan Aruch, but my bit of OCD does. ...

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Ways to Achieve Status of Real Worth

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Bamidbar The Showbread Table The end of Parshat Bamidbar describes the process of readying the Mishkan for travel, whenever the Cloud of Glory would rise to move. Among the steps, the Levi’im are told to spread a begged techelet, a blue cloth, on the Shulchan ha-Panim, 4;7. Whether that phrase should be capitalized (my Autocorrect ...

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The Rest of Siman 183, First Ideas of Hilchot Niddah

by R. Gidon Rothstein Last time, we saw the basics of what we call hilchot niddah, despite longstanding practice of the Jewish people having women act according to the rules for a zavah gedolah any time they bleed menstrually, wait seven days without any sightings of blood before they go to mikveh and restore their marriage to its usual footing. ...

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How We Decide on Gifts, How We Bring Punishments

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Bechukotai When the Torah refers to ma’aser, a tithe, 27;30, Rashi tells us it means ma’aser sheni, the second tenth of a harvest (after terumah, given to a kohen, and ma’aser, given to a Levi) taken in years one, two, four, and five of the shemittah cycle, to be brought to Jerusalem and eaten there ...

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Yoreh De’ah 183, An Introduction to Niddah

by R. Gidon Rothstein The most immediate surprise for our siman of Aruch HaShulchan lies in simple numbers: this siman has one paragraph in Shulchan Aruch and sixty-eight in Aruch HaShulchan. In our review—I will skip liberally, to cover the siman in two essays, for reasons that will become clear as we learn—I will look for clues to what exercised ...

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We Don’t Always Decide Who We Are

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Behar Do Not Free an Eved Kena’ani I chose the comment from HaKetav VeHaKabbalah for this parsha because it dovetails with other learning of mine, although it is not a full idea. Chapter 25, 44-46 introduces eved Kena’ani, a non-Jew in servitude to a Jew. [I avoid “slave” because of its English connotations, given the ...

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Orach Chayyim 113, Where to Bow in Prayer

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Behar Our last few times learning together, we saw chapters where AH has many more paragraphs than did SA (as we will again next time, on steroids!). Our siman has nine se’ifim, in both SA and AH. For whatever that’s worth… Basics of the First Blessing of Shemoneh Esreh Although the chapter will discuss where ...

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Conflicting Documents, Conflicting Loans

by R. Gidon Rothstein Choshen Mishpat 85 Battling Documents We start with conflict. Sarah (not her real name) produces a shetar chov, a document declaring a loan Leah owed/owes. Leah has one of her own, showing Sarah sold her some other property, says she must have already paid the loan, otherwise Sarah would never have sold her the field. Sarah ...

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Finding Sanctity

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Emor Three of the four comments I found for this time address how we bring kedushah into the world. While we usually translate the word along the lines of “sanctity’” let’s see how well these comments fit the definition. The first, HaKetav VeHaKabbalah’s comment to 24;21, focuses on another topic I have long thought underrecognized, ...

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