Journal

Exposing Hypocrites

by R. Yisrael Herczeg The Rambam states in Hilchos Teshuvah 3:14: All the wicked and the transgressors and the apostates and the like who did teshuvah, whether in the open or in secrecy, are accepted, as it says, “Come back, unruly children” (Yirmiyah 3:14, 22). [This implies,] even though he is unruly, for he repents furtively and not in the ...

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When is Shabbat Over?

by R. Yaakov Hoffman Determining when Shabbat concludes has always been a weekly necessity for observant Jews. Thus, one might assume that everyone ends Shabbat at more or less the same time. In actuality, there is a great deal of variation. Some people commence weekday activities on Saturday night 40 minutes after sunset, while others wait longer—some as long as ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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On the Love of Torah and the Redemption of This Generation’s Soul

by Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik The following is a translation by David Derovan of a portion of a Hebrew article by Rav Soloveitchik which was published in Divrei Hashkafah, W.Z.O. Department for Torah Education and Culture for the Diaspora: Jerusalem 1992, pp. 241-258. The article first appeared in Hebrew in HaDo’ar, New York, 1 Sivan 5720, 1960. (Words in parenthesis ...

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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 ...

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Using Manuscripts in Learning

by R. Aryeh Leibowitz, author of the recently published The Neshamah: A Study of the Human Soul The Sugya The Gemara in Nedarim 3b seeks an example of the prohibition to violate a vow or oath: “He shall not violate his word – לא יחל דברו (Devarim 30:3).” The Gemara suggests a case of a person who takes a vow (נדר) ...

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When Social Justice Replaces Judaism

by David P. Goldman Review of To Heal the World?: How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel, by Jonathan Neumann (All Points/St. Martins, 2018, 288 pages)   What are the Jews good for? Six out of ten American Jews marry out (seven out of ten excluding the Orthodox), which suggests that even they don’t have an answer. Few children ...

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