Journal

Is it Permissible to Dance on Shabbos and Yom Tov?

by R. Moshe Kurtz This year, many synagogues will reluctantly curtail or omit the dancing from their Simchas Torah services in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. R. Hershel Schachter published a responsum (Piskei Corona #55) on October 2nd, 2020 in which he advised that similar to Hoshanos either the chazzan (prayer leader) should be the only one making ...

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The Redemptive Power of the Etrog

by R. Alec Goldstein The very first sin in human history was when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, but the Bible never specifies what that fruit was. In some circles, there is widespread—but mistaken—belief that the fruit was an apple, apparently because the Latin word for “evil” and “apple” are spelled similarly: mālum vs. mălum. Really, a mistake ...

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Remember Your Creator

by R. Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg The Rambam includes an unusual phrase in his description of teshuvah which, when analyzed, completely refocuses and redefines the repentance process. The Rambam writes (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4): Although blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a decree of Scripture,[1]A commandment of the Torah for which there is no obvious rationale. there is a subtle ...

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From Tu B’Av to Elul: Resilience and Renewal

by Leonard Grunstein The fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Av (Tu B’Av) and Yom Kippur are referred to in the Mishna,[1]Mishna Ta’anit 4:8. Talmud[2]JT Ta’anit 4:7, at page 26a (pages 23a-b of the Zhitomer ed.) and BT Ta’anit 30b. and Midrash[3]Eicha Rabbah Petchta 33. as one of the most joyous days of the year. As we understand why ...

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All Go Up To Jerusalem

by R. Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron Translated by R. Yitzchok Tendler R. Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron served as the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel 1993-2003. He passed away this past April. R. Yitzchok Tendler serves as Executive Director of Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta, GA. He frequently lectures on topics related to Jewish History and modern Israel. הכל מעלין לירושלים Hakol Ma’alin Le’Yerushalayim Rabbi ...

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Harsh Words for R Tarfon, Wise Words for the Rest of Us

by R. Asher Bush The Mishah in Brachos (daf yud) records the debate between Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai whether one must recite Shma at night in a lying down position (Beis Shamai), or is it permitted to recite it in any position (Beis Hillel). Following this it also recounts an event where R Tarfon relates that he was once ...

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Did the Students of R. Akiva Die in a 2nd Century Epidemic?

by R. Dr. Basil Herring They said “R. Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of disciples who were located all the way from Gevat (near Beersheva in the south of Judea) till Antiparis (at its northern end) and they all died at one time because they did not act respectfully toward each other. As a result, the world was desolate (Rashi: ...

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