Journal

Havdala With Wine During The Nine Days

by R. Asher Bush The communal mourning practices during the period preceding Tisha B’Av have changed over time, now challenging the performance of an important mitzvah. The Talmud [1]Ta’anis 26b teaches that as part of our mourning in the period leading up to Tisha B’Av, a number of restrictions were imposed. When the month of Av begins, joy should be ...

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Responding to Catastrophe

by Aron White The destruction of the Second Beis Hamikdash was a devastating catastrophe for the Jewish people. The Gemara (Bava Basra 60b) records the sense of lethargy and depression that set in – Jews were so demoralised, they did not see any reason to continue Judaism. Beyond the initial depression, the long term questions of the future of Jewish ...

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Torah From Sinai

Questions about the laws in Deuteronomy in comparison with those in earlier biblical books assume a process of prophetic transmission at Mt. Sinai and in the Sinai Desert. However, without even minimally exploring that transmission, we can never even begin to answer those questions. Jewish tradition teaches a dual transmission–the Written and the Oral Torahs. Distinguishing between these two traditions ...

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Tefillin on Tisha B’Av

by David Roth Contemporary practice seems near universal that tefillin are worn on Tisha B’Av in the afternoon but not in the morning.  However, the exceptions–particularly among Sephardim–point to divergent opinions on the subject.  In fact, there is a major debate among the Rishonim regarding whether one wears tefillin at all on Tisha B’Av. Different Views Most Rishonim, including Tosafos, ...

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Alternative Burial Arrangements

by David Roth The Torah [1]Deuteronomy 21:23 command to bury the dead leads to an inevitable practical problem. Each body requires a space of approximately 3 square meters. [2]R. Dr. Yisrael Meir Levinger, HaMaayan, Nissan 5774, page 19 After many years and many deaths, land space becomes an issue. In Israel, the use of individual graves could potentially use up ...

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An Overlooked View on Women’s Aliyyot II

In a follow-up from yesterday’s essay, Rabbis Aryeh and Dov Frimer respond and Yitzchak Kasdan continues the conversation. by R. Aryeh and R. Dov Frimer Dear Reb Yitzchak, Thank you for allowing us to see your letter to Torah Musings. Below are a few of our comments. 1. We were fully aware of the position which you focus on. We chose ...

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An Overlooked View on Women’s Aliyyot

by Yitzchak Kasdan I pen this piece in reaction to Rabbis Aryeh and Dov Frimer’s brilliant essay on “Women, Kriat Ha-Torah, and Aliyyot”  recently published in Tradition (Winter 2013, volume 46, no. 4).  As comprehensive as their article appears to be in covering the subject matter, it misses one overlooked, yet potentially important, explanation of the baraita in BT Megilla ...

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Mas’ei: Mysticism, Geography and the Ba’al Korei’s Dilemma

by R. Moshe Schapiro Place Names In ancient times when gypsum was more prevalent than the GPS and Gilgamesh was better known than Google Maps, the Torah detailed, in the opening of Parashat Mas’ei, the travels (masa’ot) of the Jewish people in the desert.  Rashi asks why the Torah presents us with this long list of forty-two masa’ot, and answers ...

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Yahrtzeit Practices

by David Roth Jews engage in numerous practices to commemorate a yahrtzeit for the anniversary of a relative’s passing, generally a first degree relative [1]A first degree relative is defined as a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister and spouse (Shulchan Aruch YD 374:4). for whom one would observe mourning. What are these practices and on what date are they ...

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Rethinking the Shidduch Crisis III

by Efraim Vaynman (continued from here and here) Part 3 In the prior two essays, I argued that attitudes toward kollel lifestyle are changing within men’s education but not within women’s education, and that women’s Torah education has changed in a significant and relevant way. In this essay, I argue that this change should affect how we view women’s roles ...

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