Magazine

Greeting before Davening

by R. Daniel Mann Question: The Mishna Berura rules that one may not go over to his friend’s place in shul before davening. As the shul’s rabbi, is there a heter for me to go over to a new congregant to make him feel welcome and comfortable with our tefilla? Answer: After discussing the halacha in general, we will examine ...

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Study What Matters, Not What Doesn’t

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzchak, Fifth Sha’ar R. Arama has referred several times to the idea of angels guiding motions of the planets. In this sha’ar, he tells us he intends to dispense with two ideas apparently accepted in his time, the heavenly spheres are intelligent and more valuable to the universe, than people [remember: in medieval cosmology, the planets moved ...

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A Sinful Mitzvah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 10 Kislev: R. Uzziel on Mitzvah HaBa’ah Be-‘Averah Shu”t Mishpetei Uzziel 4; Inyanim Kelaliyim 6, dated 10 Kislev 5700 (he writes it as taf-resh-nun-nun, 400-200-50-50, I think so it will have four letters in Hebrew, instead of just the two letters taf-shin), responds to a teacher at Porat Yosef (the famed Sephardic yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem where, among others, R. Ovadya Yosef ...

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Tikkun Olam’s Problems

by R. Gil Student When I first began reading Jonathan Neumann’s To Heal The World? How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel, I enthusiastically endorsed it on Facebook. To my surprise, that post was excerpted as a PR blurb for the book. Since then, many thoughtful reviewers have written about the book, forcing me to rethink my original ...

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Muktzeh during Bein Hashemashot

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one “violate” muktzeh during bein hashemashot (=bhs; the time between sunset and nightfall treated as a doubt of day or night) based on the rule of sefika d’rabbanan l’kula (we are lenient in cases of doubt of a Rabbinic prohibition) even without a mitzva need. If not, why? Answer: The gemara (Eiruvin 32b) cites ...

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Creation Shows Us God

by R. Gidon Rothstein I have come to believe I cannot overstress how much I chop from R. Yitzchak Arama’s ‘Akedat Yitzchak to present what seem to me his core ideas. With all my efforts, he still unfolds his worldview slowly, the crucial points becoming clear only with a periodic review of what he repeats most, what he insists on telling us ...

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Angels and Afterlife

by R. Gil Student I. Angels and Visions The Torah speaks explicitly about angels but gives little detail about these supernatural creatures. A debate about these biblical narratives reflects not only different understandings about the nature of angels but also about other crucial concepts. According to Jewish tradition, Avraham is visited by three angels (Gen. 18:1). Rambam (Moreh Nevukhim 2:42; ...

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Conditional Get and a Kohen

by R. Gidon Rothstein Netziv on When Conditions In a Get Make Problems for a Kohen and His Wife Click here for the audio version. On other occasions, we have discussed a man giving a get to his wife with a condition, how to avoid leaving her in marital limbo should he go missing in action. Shu”t Meshiv Davar 4;50, dated second day Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5642 ...

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Brit Milah and Korban Pesach

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler It is not coincidental that the Yom Tov of Pesach always follows parashat Tzav. The practice of reading particular selections from the Torah in connection with a specific holiday dates back to Moshe Rabbeinu. Tzav is read before Pesach, Bamidbar before Shavu’ot, Devarim before Tisha B’av, and Nitzavim before ...

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