R Ari Enkin

Unveilings

by R. Ari Enkin There are different customs as to when a tombstone should be erected over a grave, and by extension, when the unveiling ceremony should take place. Some authorities suggest that the tombstone be erected soon after the shiva period.  This is especially true according to kabbala which teaches that the soul has no “residence” in this world ...

Read More »

Tombstones

by R. Ari Enkin Erecting a tombstone or monument on top of a grave is an important Jewish custom. The practice most likely originated with Yaakov Avinu who erected a monument upon the grave of his wife, Rachel.1 Some suggest that God Himself instructed Yaakov to erect a monument on Rachel’s grave.2 In fact, some authorities argue that the requirement ...

Read More »

Bishul Akum

by R. Ari Enkin One of the lesser-known kashrut requirements is that food must be cooked by a Jew or for a Jew to at least participate in the cooking in some way.1 Food that was cooked by a non-Jew is referred to as bishul akum and may not be eaten. This is true even though the food is otherwise ...

Read More »

Shavuot: Flowers and Greenery

by R. Ari Enkin There is a widespread1 custom to decorate the home2 and synagogue with plants, flowers, and other greenery in honor of Shavuot.3 The Vilna Gaon, however, opposed the custom due to its similarity to a Christian holiday practice.4 Some say that the Vilna Gaon only opposed the use of trees as part of the Shavuot decorations, but ...

Read More »

Shabbat Afternoon

by R. Ari Enkin Three of our greatest leaders passed away on a Shabbat afternoon: David, Yosef, and according to most sources, Moshe Rabbeinu.1 Other sources seem to indicate that Moshe Rabbeinu died on a Friday.2 A number of customs are observed on Shabbat afternoons to commemorate their passing, some of which are lesser-known and may even go completely unnoticed ...

Read More »

Gezel Sheina: Stealing Sleep

by R. Ari Enkin To disturb someone who is sleeping or to prevent someone from falling asleep is a violation of gezel sheina.1 In fact, some sources maintain that stealing sleep is even worse than stealing possessions.2 This is because one who steals another person’s possessions can usually make restitution by returning the stolen items or reimbursing the owner for ...

Read More »

Kohanim: Air Travel

by R. Ari Enkin Dead bodies are routinely flown in the baggage compartments on passenger flights for burial in distant places. Since it is considered very worthwhile and meritorious to be buried in the Land of Israel, this is an especially frequent occurrence on El Al flights. Indeed, over 65 percent of all El Al flights have dead bodies on ...

Read More »

Airplane Travel

by R. Ari Enkin Although it is not widely known, there is a view among halachic authorities that Tefillat Haderech is not recited for airplane travel.1 This is based on the Talmudic teaching that air travel is something associated exclusively with birds and not with people.2 According to this approach, the reason Tefillat Haderech is not recited when flying on ...

Read More »

Publicizing the Donors

by R. Ari Enkin Is it proper to publicize the names of donors? The practice of publicizing the names of those who make donations for charitable causes is quite ancient. The Talmud relates that it was publicized that Yosef Ben Yo’ezer made a generous donation to the Beit Hamikdash.1 In fact, the famous “Nicanor Gate” of the Beit Hamikdash was ...

Read More »