Journal

Electronic Participation in a Siyum on Erev Pesach and Related Issues

by R. Asher Bush [1]Adapted by the author from Shu”t Shoel B’Shlomo, T’shuva #34 Twice, the Shulchan Aruch speaks of the obligation of the bechor (firstborn son) to fast on Erev Pesach (called Ta’anis Bechorim) – first in describing the events leading up to Pesach [2]Orach Chaim 429:2 and later in a chapter [3]Orach Chaim 470 devoted solely to this ...

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Is It Permissible to Refrain from Vaccinating Children?

by R. Asher Weiss Many poskim and communal leaders have asked me whether parents are obligated to inoculate their children by means of generally accepted vaccines in order to prevent terrible diseases, because some important rabbanim recently expressed the following opinion: Since there is concern that vaccination damages health, not only is it permissible not to vaccinate children, but it ...

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Hallel in Shul on Seder Night: Is Less More?

by R. Yaakov Hoffman Some Jews just can’t get enough Hallel. Not only do they say it during the Seder; they say it beforehand as well, at the end of Maariv. Doing so, however, is not a universal practice. Many Jews recite Hallel on Pesach night only during the Seder. What is the rationale behind each of these customs? While ...

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Misheberach on Shabbat

by R. Ari Enkin As a general rule, one is forbidden to make personal requests to God on Shabbat. This includes prayers for health and welfare. In fact, one who encounters a sick person on Shabbat is supposed to say “It is forbidden to cry out on Shabbat but may you have a speedy recovery.” [1]Shabbat 12a; YD 335:6. As ...

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Kiddushei Ketana

by R. Ari Enkin Although somewhat unknown, there is a concept in a halacha, known as “Keddushei Ketana,” which empowers a father to marry off his minor daughter, potentially against her will. Although the concept of marrying off a minor daughter is disturbing and socially unacceptable, it was commonly practiced in ancient times. In fact, the Torah instituted it for ...

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Did The Talmud Really Say To Get Drunk On Purim?

by R. Asher Bush Every year as we approach Purim the routine seems more or less the same: schools and many rabbis point out that it really is not necessary or even appropriate to become drunk on Purim. Large segments of our community (most of their target audience) don’t take them seriously. When I say “don’t take them seriously,” I ...

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Antisemitism and Anti-Orthodoxy in the Age of Social Media

by R. Moshe Grussgott Professor Eliyahu Stern recently penned an article in Tablet Magazine in which he quotes my uncle Professor Gershon Bacon, among other scholars, to support his contention that Orthodox Jewry has some degree of tolerance for far-right antisemitism, and that this trend dates back over 80 years to the interwar period, no less. My uncle authorized me ...

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A Shrine of Oneness

by R. Alec Goldstein … Ve-hayah ha-mishkan eḥad, “and the tabernacle will be one” (Exod. 26:6). This half a verse captured my attention several years ago, especially because of its placement. This phrase and its companion va-yehi ha-mishkan eḥad (Exod. 36:13) seem like they could be a grand prolegomenon and stunning crescendo for the construction of the tabernacle, yet both ...

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Remembering Amalek

by R. Ari Enkin The Torah commands us to remember (“zachor”) that the Amalekites attacked the Jewish people shortly after their departure from Egypt. [1]Devarim 25:17. This is a mitzva that must be done verbally [2]Megilla18a. and according to many authorities, it must be read from a text. [3]Megilla18a; Tosfot, Megilla 17b. There is also a view that a minyan ...

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The Style of Talmudic Discussions

by R. Hershel Schachter A recent response of a rabbi in Eretz Yisrael to an apparently random killing of an Arab woman might be misunderstood by the public as a denigration of Rishonim and Acharonim. The Talmud discusses the case of a get written on an eved’s arm. Just like none of the commentators objected to the inhumanity of such ...

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