Halachah Musings

The Best Charity

by R. Gil Student My friend, Rav Shlomo Einhorn, is once again attempting a superhuman feat of Torah teaching. A little over two years ago, he taught Torah for 18 live-streamed hours to raise money for the yeshiva he heads. This year, on Lag Ba-Omer, he will be attempting to break that record by teaching for 19 straight hours. This ...

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Cloned Pigs Aren’t Kosher

by R. Gil Student I. Kosher Pig The news recently carried a report that Rav Yuval Cherlow said that cloned pigs are kosher. This is clearly wrong. A cloned pig is implanted as an embryo into a female pig and born naturally. There is no reason it should not be treated halakhically like other pigs, indeed like its clone. Presumably, ...

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Breakfast on Purim

by R. Gil Student I. Premature Breakfast On Purim morning, are we allowed to eat breakfast? The answer is not so much a matter of food but of priorities. On Purim, we observe a number of commandments. Among them are reading the megillah, giving charity to the poor, sending gifts of food to a friend and eating a festive meal. ...

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A Rabbi’s Role

by R. Gil Student What does a rabbi do? What is his role in the community? In a 2011 article (PDF), Rav Hershel Schachter quoted Prof. Saul Lieberman’s responsum demonstrating that ordination includes permission to serve as a rabbinic judge (dayan). We can look at other evaluations and see similar sentiments. A few years ago, I discovered a book by ...

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Violating Extra Shabbos

by R. Gil Student I. Creating Holiness Every week, we utilize one of the greatest human powers even though it has no tangible effect. God created the world for six days and then rested on the seventh. He then blessed and sanctified the seventh day on which He rested (Gen. 2:2-3). Every week, Jews rest on Shabbos, the seventh day, ...

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Naps in Jewish Law

by R. Gil Student I. Is Napping Allowed? Man was born to toil, the book of Job (5:7) tells us. In our busy lives we grab the precious opportunities to rest when they arise because they are so rare. What does Judaism say about adults spending otherwise productive time during the day taking naps? I would like to address here ...

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Benefitting from Illicit Fruit Experimentation

by R. Gil Student In the first three years of a fruit tree’s life, its fruits are forbidden as Orlah (Lev. 19:23). Ramban (ad loc.) explains that the first fruits must be brought to the Temple in thanks. During the first three years after planting, a tree’s fruits generally lack the quality necessary for a Temple offering. Therefore, the fruits ...

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The Shabbos Wedding

by R. Gil Student I. The Wedding Sometimes in the 1550’s or 1560’s, Rav Moshe Isserles officiated at a wedding on Shabbos. This fascinating episode offers further evidence to a previous discussion in which we demonstrated that husbands do not own their wives. Rav Moshe Isserles, commonly known as the Rema, wrote the Ashkenazic glosses to the Shulchan Arukh, the ...

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Is Stand-Up Comedy Kosher?

by R. Gil Student The question of stand-up comedy’s propriety comes from the same source as its benefits. Humor, we are told, is the best medicine. It relieves stress, spreads joy and serves as a break from our busy lives. At its best, it can also serve as social commentary and political criticism, sometimes sparking positive change. In theory, comedy ...

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Is Secular Music Kosher?

by R. Gil Student I. Extent of the Prohibition The Gemara (Gittin 7a) asks from where we learn that music is forbidden. The Gemara answers with a few possible verses, including “Do not rejoice, Israel, to joy like the nations” (Hosea 9:1). Commentators disagree about the extent of this prohibition. Rashi (Gittin 7a s.v. zamra) explains that this discussion revolves ...

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