Magazine

In Which We Meet the Kohanim

by R. Gidon Rothstein In Shemot 28;1, Hashem lays out the process for inducting Aharon and his sons to the priesthood. Ramban points out that the sons had to be in this ceremony, that Aharon’s investiture did not turn all his living descendants into priests. A baby born to a kohen father is a kohen (barring certain disqualifications), but having a kohen father does not do it. That distinction mattered only for that ...

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Breakfast on Purim

by R. Gil Student I. Premature Breakfast On Purim morning, are we allowed to eat breakfast? The answer is not so much a matter of food but of priorities. On Purim, we observe a number of commandments. Among them are reading the megillah, giving charity to the poor, sending gifts of food to a friend and eating a festive meal. ...

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Wearing Hatzalah Walkie Talkies on Shabbat

by R. Gidon Rothstein 2nd Day RH Adar: R. Moshe Feinstein on Wearing Hatzalah Walkie Talkies on Shabbat [Click for the audio version] Hatzalah is a deservedly well-known organization, with volunteers available day or night for medical emergencies. A central dispatcher fields distress calls and alerts volunteers in the area through a walkie-talkie system. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayyim 4;81, dated second day Rosh Chodesh Adar 5739 ...

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The Beginnings of the Mishkan

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Mishkan Started at Sinai Parshat Terumah opens with Hashem telling Moshe to collect donations for the building of a Mishkan (referred to in 25;8 as a Mikdash, a sanctified place, as the later structure in Yerushalayim would be called). The verse’s reason for building it is so that Hashem will reside in their midst. Ramban to 25;2 expands that basic idea, ...

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Writing Names in Gittin – Ashkenazic or Sephardic

by R. Gidon Rothstein [Click for the audio version]   I find it hard to convey technical issues ofhalachah in a way that does them justice. That means that with all my efforts to randomize this selection process, we probably take up fewer such technical questions than are reflected in the responsa literature.Shu”t Yabi’a Omer 10; Even HaEzer 34, dated 24 Shevat 5743 (1983) helps us make ...

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Chukim and Mishpatim – No Difference

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Many people make a distinction between chukim and Mishpatim, believing that chukim are non-rational laws, while Mishpatim are rational, easy to understand. According to Rav Soloveitchik, even Mishpatim are as much pure abstract and not necessarily explainable laws, rooted in ratzon HaBoreh (HaShem’s will) as are the chukim. Using ...

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A Rabbi’s Role

by R. Gil Student What does a rabbi do? What is his role in the community? In a 2011 article (PDF), Rav Hershel Schachter quoted Prof. Saul Lieberman’s responsum demonstrating that ordination includes permission to serve as a rabbinic judge (dayan). We can look at other evaluations and see similar sentiments. A few years ago, I discovered a book by ...

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Leaving Money for Tzedaka in a Will

by R. Daniel Mann Question: How much could or should one leave in a will for tzedaka before dividing the rest among the children? Answer: First, realize that there is absolutely no requirement to leave anything in a will for tzedaka. The obligation to give tzedaka applies during and throughout one’s lifetime. When he dies (may it be at 120), ...

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