Author Archives: Yaakov Hoffman

Yaakov Hoffman is the rabbi of Washington Heights Congregation and a member of the Kollel L’Horaah of RIETS. He has had a lifelong interest in the history of halacha and is a practicing sofer. He can be reached at [email protected]

Early Shabbat Services: Plag or 7:00?

by R. Yaakov Hoffman During the summer, many wish to eat the Shabbat evening meal well before dark. To accommodate them, many shuls offer early Friday evening services. Some daven Mincha right before plag ha-mincha (1 ¼ halachic hours before sunset) and immediately thereafter recite Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv. Others begin Mincha at a set time all summer long – ...

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Reconsidering the Sheitel

by R. Yaakov Hoffman Can hair serve to conceal hair? The idea has been hotly contested in Jewish legal discourse since the sixteenth century, when some married women began to use wigs as their required hair covering.1 The debate has continued until the present day. Some communities and rabbis cling tenaciously to the stance that wigs are forbidden,2 whereas others ...

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When is Shabbat Over?

by R. Yaakov Hoffman Determining when Shabbat concludes has always been a weekly necessity for observant Jews. Thus, one might assume that everyone ends Shabbat at more or less the same time. In actuality, there is a great deal of variation. Some people commence weekday activities on Saturday night 40 minutes after sunset, while others wait longer—some as long as ...

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