R Ari Enkin

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 It has even been suggested that the tunes used by the kohanim nowadays originated at Mount Sinai.2 The singing serves to separate each of the ...

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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 This is a mitzva that must be done verbally2 and according to many authorities, it must be read from a text.3 There is also a view that a minyan must be in attendance when reading the ...

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Gloves

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  One of the explanations offered for this practice is that, throughout Scripture, wine is found to be both a positive and negative substance. It ...

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Amputated Limbs

by R. Ari Enkin As a general rule, there is no true obligation to bury limbs that were removed from a living person, only those that were removed from a dead one.1 So too, an amputated limb is not considered to be as sacred as a dead body. Nevertheless, most authorities rule that a Kohen should distance himself from amputated ...

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Cutting Nails

by R. Ari Enkin One should trim one’s fingernails as part of one’s Shabbat preparations in order to ensure that one has a pleasant appearance in honor of Shabbat.1 One should not trim them in the order of one’s fingers,2 finger after finger, as it is taught that doing so can lead to forgetfulness and bad luck.3 Some believe that ...

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Non-Jewish Religious Symbols

by R. Ari Enkin It is quite common to discover that items in one’s possession contain religious symbols. This is often the case with postage stamps, perfumes, and even some brand name clothing whose logos include a cross. One might also live in a country whose flag contains a cross, which appears on T-shirts, passports, knapsacks, and other items produced ...

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Fish and Meat

by R. Ari Enkin It was once believed that eating fish and meat together was the cause of a terrible skin condition and was extremely dangerous to one’s health.1 As such, the rabbis instituted a prohibition against eating fish and meat together.2 It is forbidden to eat fish and poultry together, as well.3 Although nowadays there are no known health ...

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