From The Hashkafah Files

Lack of a Rabbi in the Modern Era

by R. Gil Student I. Non-Believing Jews The modern era presents unique challenges to traditional religion. Most changes are matters of a phenomenon’s extent, quantity rather than quality. However, a greatly expanded phenomenon may require a different response. The example we will discuss here is the growth of secularism in the community. While atheists and religious deniers always existed, in ...

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What is the Shekhinah?

by R. Gil Student I. Divine Presence The Bible and Talmud refer frequently to the Shekhinah, God’s presence, without explaining the term. This leaves students relying on their intuition. When informed by years of study, this intuitive understanding usually fares well. However, historically, some people have reached theologically dangerous conclusions on these matters, leading important thinkers to explain this term ...

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A BT and his Father

by R. Gil Student Before leading bentching, the grace after meals, the leader typically requests permission from others more worthy to lead. The standard formula is: “With permission of our masters, our teachers and my teachers.“ Many add specifics depending on with whom they are eating. If kohanim (priests) are present, they may ask permission of “the priests.” If they ...

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