R Ari Enkin

Mourners: Attending a Wedding

by R. Ari Enkin As a general rule, a mourner is forbidden to attend any celebration, especially one that includes a festive meal. This is especially true for a wedding. [1]YD 391:2. However, attending a wedding is subject to a different set of regulations than those of other celebrations due to the sensitivity of one’s presence or absence at such ...

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Tzedaka: Those Who Refuse to Work

by R. Ari Enkin It is clear that one should only give tzedaka to those who are genuinely in need. A person who is known to have the necessary funds for his basic needs but nevertheless seeks money from others rather than use his own funds, should be turned away. [1]Ketubot 67b; Rambam, Hilchot Matnat Aniyim 7:9; YD 253:10. However, ...

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Birkat Kohanim: Dreams

by R. Ari Enkin It is customary to recite the Ribono Shel Olam prayer during Birkat Kohanim for any disturbing dreams that one might have recently had. It is customary to recite the Ribono Shel Olam prayer during Birkat Kohanim for any disturbing dreams that one might have recently had. This is said to be able to transform such dreams, ...

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Marriage: The Ring

by R. Ari Enkin According to halacha, a groom may betroth his bride with anything of value, whether it is money or any other type of gift. [1]Kiddushin 2a. Common custom, however, is to do so by means of a ring. [2]Rema, EH 27:1. A number of explanations have been offered for the now universal custom of using a ring ...

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Misheberach on Shabbat

by R. Ari Enkin As a general rule, one is forbidden to make personal requests to God on Shabbat. This includes prayers for health and welfare. In fact, one who encounters a sick person on Shabbat is supposed to say “It is forbidden to cry out on Shabbat but may you have a speedy recovery.” [1]Shabbat 12a; YD 335:6. As ...

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Kiddushei Ketana

by R. Ari Enkin Although somewhat unknown, there is a concept in a halacha, known as “Keddushei Ketana,” which empowers a father to marry off his minor daughter, potentially against her will. Although the concept of marrying off a minor daughter is disturbing and socially unacceptable, it was commonly practiced in ancient times. In fact, the Torah instituted it for ...

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Birkat Kohanim: Singing

by R. Ari Enkin There is an ancient and widespread custom for the Kohanim to chant a tune between each of the three verses of Birkat Kohanim, something that may even pre-date the Talmudic era. [1]Kiddushin 71a. It has even been suggested that the tunes used by the kohanim nowadays originated at Mount Sinai. [2]Siach Yitzchak 73. The singing serves ...

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Remembering Amalek

by R. Ari Enkin The Torah commands us to remember (“zachor”) that the Amalekites attacked the Jewish people shortly after their departure from Egypt. [1]Devarim 25:17. This is a mitzva that must be done verbally [2]Megilla18a. and according to many authorities, it must be read from a text. [3]Megilla18a; Tosfot, Megilla 17b. There is also a view that a minyan ...

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by R. Ari Enkin As part of every Jewish wedding ceremony, a groom betroths his bride with a ring which he places on her finger as he recites the familiar declaration of intent. A number of authorities rule that in order for the betrothal to be valid, the ring must be placed directly on the bride’s finger without any interposition ...

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L’chaim and Other Drinking Customs

by R. Ari Enkin There is a well-known custom of preceding the blessing on wine, especially on Shabbat, with the words savri maranan (“attention gentlemen”) or birshut maranan (“with your permission gentlemen”), depending on one’s custom. [1]Cited in the Derisha. See also Ta’amei Haminhagim 291–294, Kol Bo 25.  One of the explanations offered for this practice is that, throughout Scripture, ...

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