When to Attend a Levaya

by R. Daniel Mann Question: It is difficult for me (a part-time working woman with school-age children) to know when to attend a levaya (lit., accompanying the deceased) of people I know but am not close with. Can you give me guidelines? Answer: It is more feasible to provide background and perspective than exact guidelines.  The basic sources seem clear. ...

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Petihah Kollelet, Third Part, Letters 15-23

by R. Gidon Rothstein Finishing with the Senses, On to the Punishments We’ve been spending some time on thought and how it impacts halachah. In this week’s segment, Peri Megadim will finish that quickly, go back to other senses (he briefly again discusses sight and hearing), then move to the punishments the Torah prescribes for sins. It is an example of an element ...

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Rabbi Sacks’ Theology of the Stranger: A Halakhic Defense

by R. Gil Student Rabbi Jonathan Sacks zt”l opened up Jewish thought to a broader audience with his prolific writing and speaking about ideas in ways that were both eloquent and accessible. To a surprising degree, he was able to transcend denominational, ethnic and religious communities without sacrificing his traditional Orthodox Jewish beliefs. However, some people contend that in his ...

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Pidyon Shevuyim for Someone Guilty

by R. Gil Student Pidyonim Shevuyim means redeeming a captive, paying someone’s ransom. It is among the highest priorities of mitzvos. Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh De’ah 252:1) is more important than feeding and clothing the poor. If we fail to redeem captives, we risk rampant death and assimilation of upstanding members of our community. Some people think pidyon shevuyim is a ...

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Hineini: Abraham’s Test and Our Future

by R. Eliyahu Safran And Abraham raised his eyes and saw – behold a ram! – afterwards, caught in the thicket by its horns, so Abraham went and took the ram and offered it as an offering instead of his son (Bereishit 22:13) Who dares imagine Abraham’s heart at that awful moment when he was tested and called to place ...

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Is a Difficult to Remove Residue a Chatzitza?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I learned that due to the way we use our oven rack, it requires tevila (beyond our scope), but by now, it has baked-on residue. With hard work and chemical cleaners, I removed most of the residue, but it is not fully clean. May I do tevilat keilim now? Answer: The laws of chatzitza (impediments ...

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Petihah Kollelet, Third Part, Letters 9-14

by R. Gidon Rothstein When the Thought Really Counts The time before last, Peri Megadim raised some questions about hirhur ke-dibbur, the possibility a thought could count as much as speech for some halachic purposes. In paragraph nine of this third part, he returns to the issue, because while it played some questionable role for prayer or blessings, and clearly ...

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The Tannaim part 5

This is the final post in a new series by R. Aryeh Leibowitz of Yeshivat Sha’alvim. Continued from here: link The Later Tannaim The Bar Kochba Revolt Throughout the post-churban period of Roman rule in Israel there were feuds and tension between the ruling Romans and their Jewish subjects. An early rebellion even forced R. Akiva to leave Israel for ...

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