Bread, Hides, and Sanctity

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tzav What Shape is a Challah? While inducting Aharon and his sons into the kehunah, Moshe takes a challat matzah echat, one challah of matzah (and one challah of lechem shemen, but that’s not the focus here), VaYikra 8;26. R. Mecklenburg refers to two Aramaic Targumim, Onkelos and Yonatan b. Uziel, who agree challah should ...

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Rules of Legal Documents

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tzav We don’t much write shetarot, legal documents, anymore, other than a ketubah when getting married and (if we need to) a get for divorce. For business dealings, I suspect we tend to use local contract law. Making Choshen Mishpat 61 largely irrelevant in most cases. I chose to summarize it here nonetheless for its ...

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Grappling with Unwitting Sin

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYikra Vidui Doesn’t Mean Confess, Says R. Mecklenburg The Torah tells us the Jew who brings a sacrifice to atone must ve-hitvadah, Vayikra 5;5, a word I think almost universally assumed to mean admit or articulate the sin, what we call vidui. This reading assumes the root le-hodot, such as to concede a claim (hodah ...

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Wedding Witnesses, Valid, Invalid, and In Between

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYikra As I summarized and skipped our way through the first twenty-eight paragraphs of AH Even Ha-Ezer 42 last time, I omitted a couple of points I now think I should have shared. What We Know, Regardless of Law First, in se’if nineteen, AH brings up a topic we often avoid for its distastefulness, a ...

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Consent and Witnesses for Kiddushin

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Pekudei Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 42 has five paragraphs, where Aruch HaShulchan has fifty-one. I will try to capture essential points of AH’s presentation, as we figure out what is needed to produce a valid kiddushin, the first stage of marital connection between a man and woman. Consent, Full and Pressured Within the broad agreement ...

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The Human Element of Building a Mishkan

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYakhel Imprisoned From Contributing The Jews donate materials for the construction of the Mishkan to the point were Moshe sends out word they had enough and more, and the last words of Shemot 34;6 are va-yikalei ha-am me-havi. Some translations on Sefaria write just “the people stopped bringing,” where others have a version more in ...

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The Golden Calf, Many Costs, a Bit of Benefit

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ki Tissa Starting at Shemot 33;12 and for the rest of the chapter, Moshe and Hashem have a conversation interpreted many ways by commentators, but clearly culminates in 34;5 and on, where Hashem shows Moshe the Thirteen Attributes of Rachamim (a word I personally think is mistranslated, better translated as Fatherly Patience). We likely know ...

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Meat and Milk Mixing, Part Two

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Ki Tissa The Possibility of a Cook AH has many questions about the principle we began last week, teta’ah gevar, the bottom food of a mixture tells us whether to consider the interaction hot or cold. He first brings up an issue discussed more fully in Yoreh De’ah 98 (we’re in 91), te’imat kefeila, having ...

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The “Unneeded” Altar, and Making Aharon and His Sons Into Kohanim

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tetzaveh Chapter thirty of Sefer Shemot details how to construct the altar found in the structure of the Mishkan, known as the golden altar, mitzbach ha-zahav, or the altar for incense, mizbach ha-ketoret. R. Mecklenburg wonders why the Torah waited until here, when the other furnishings were laid out in Terumah. Ovadiahmi-Bertinoro:The Incense Altar Honors ...

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