R Ari Enkin

Lag Ba’omer – Bows & Arrows

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin There is a well known Lag Ba’omer custom for children (and adults!) to play with bows and arrows. It is said that the Scriptural source for this custom is alluded to in the verse: “And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor, shooters of bows and had many sons, and sons’ sons.”[1] Based on ...

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Yom Ha’atzmaut – Haircuts and Shaving

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin There is an interesting phenomenon among many individuals who observe Yom Ha’atzmaut. Even among those who celebrate and otherwise participate in Yom Ha’atzmaut festivities in every way, including attending live musical performances and dancing, many decline the opportunity to cut their hair or to even shave in honor of the day. Lately, I have been contemplating ...

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Yom Hashoah, Nissan, & Sirens

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Ever since its legislation in 1951, the 27th of Nissan is the day designated for the annual commemoration of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. Among the many ceremonies and assemblies held throughout the twenty-four hours of Yom Hashoah, the most nationally unifying observance of Yom Hashoah is undoubtedly the two minute siren which is sounded at ...

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Erev Pesach & The Fast of the Firstborn

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin It is customary[1] for all firstborn males to fast on Erev Pesach in order to recall the tenth and final plague which God inflicted upon Egypt – the death of the firstborn.[2] There are grounds to suggest that the Fast of the Firstborn is actually of relatively recent vintage, as it is unlikely that in the ...

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Birkat Ilanot

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Every year one has the wonderful opportunity to recite a special blessing when one sees fruit trees in blossom. As the Talmud teaches: “a person who goes out during the days of Nissan and sees trees in bloom recites the following blessing: Blessed are You Lord our God, King of the universe, Who did not leave ...

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Davening: Is a Hat & Jacket Required?

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin One will readily notice that wearing a hat and jacket during prayer is standard dress in many orthodox circles. It is generally assumed that the reason for this is to comply with the requirement to be dressed “appropriately” when standing before God in prayer.[1] In fact, it is especially meritorious to have a garment reserved exclusively ...

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On Purim & Bus Fares

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin It once happened that an individual from Bnei Brak had gotten himself quite intoxicated one Purim.[1] At the conclusion of Purim in his city, he decided that he would head into Jerusalem, where Purim is observed one day later than everywhere else, to enjoy yet another twenty-four hours of Purim festivities. This individual boarded a bus ...

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Why I Observe Two Days of Purim

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin In most of the world, Purim is observed on the 14th of Adar. This is because in the Purim story, the vast majority of Jews were forced to go to war against their enemies on the 13th of Adar. They then enjoyed the next day, the 14th of Adar, to rest and celebrate their speedy victory. ...

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Mishlo’ach Manot – Family or Individual Packages?

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin It is somewhat unclear whether every individual in a family unit is obligated to send their own mishlo’ach manot package or if they are included in the “family” mishlo’ach manot package. The most common application of this uncertainty generally relates to married women. As such, there is some discussion in halachic literature whether married women are ...

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Laundry Day

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin Among the decrees which were instituted by Ezra is that of washing one’s clothes on Thursday in honor of Shabbat.[1] Indeed, this decree is codified as normative halacha.[2] The reason for the decree was in order to ensure that one would have ample time on Friday to tend to the many other Shabbat preparations and not ...

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