Magazine

Becoming a Firefighter

by R. Gidon Rothstein 6 Kislev: Tzitz Eliezer on Becoming a Firefighter One of the blessed challenges of a renewed Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is that it brings up questions of how an halachic Judaism can function in a full working society. Tzitz Eliezer 7;20, dated 6 Kislev 5722 (1961) takes up one such challenge. The rabbi of Pardes Channah, R. Yehoshua Zelig Diskin, ...

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Personal Judaism

by R. Gil Student Personal stringencies in Jewish practice are private matters but they can also provide insight into the nature of Jewish law. In an undated responsum, Rav Moshe Feinstein answered a question about the complex topic of eruvin with a brief musing on the effect of halakhic decision-making on contemporary religious life. The Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 362:10) ...

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To What Does Havdala Relate?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: This is more of a philosophical than halachic question, but is Havdala a mitzva of Shabbat or a mitzva of chol (weekday)? Answer: The Rambam (Shabbat 29:1; Sefer Hamitzvot, Aseh 155) is clear on the matter, as he views Kiddush and Havdala as equivalent “bookends”: “It is a positive mitzva from the Torah to sanctify ...

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A BT and his Father

by R. Gil Student Before leading bentching, the grace after meals, the leader typically requests permission from others more worthy to lead. The standard formula is: “With permission of our masters, our teachers and my teachers.“ Many add specifics depending on with whom they are eating. If kohanim (priests) are present, they may ask permission of “the priests.” If they ...

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Mussaf with a Minyan or Shacharit First

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Cheshvan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Mussaf with a Minyan or Shacharit First There may be people who have never come late to shul; for the rest of us, hard questions arise. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayyim 4;68, dated 28 Marcheshvan 5750 (1979), deals with a person who comes to shul when the community is already up to Mussaf, the additional prayer on Shabbat and holidays. ...

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Can Two People Be One?

by R. Gil Student I. Equating Personalities In the late sixteenth century, R. Azariah de Rossi shook the scholarly Jewish world by subjecting Talmudic historical statements to critical scrutiny. His questioning nearly led to his excommunication but his writings found approval by moderate traditionalists centuries later. While examining rabbinic chronology of the Persian monarchy, R. Azariah (Me’or Einayim, Imrei Binah, ...

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Reliability Regarding Kashrut

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Does “one witness is believed in matters of issurin (what is religiously forbidden/permitted, including, kashrut)” apply even if the witness has a personal interest, such as a store or restaurant? Does it apply to a woman? Must the person be a yareh shamayim? How is a mashgiach better than the owner if the business pays ...

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Finding Our Way to Hashem, Or Not

by R. Gidon Rothstein Seeking Hashem’s Truth In the beginning of the parsha, Yitzchak and Rivkah struggle with infertility. When she finally becomes pregnant, the fetuses move around inside her, causing her enough trouble that in 25;22, va-telech lidrosh et Hashem, she went to inquire of Hashem. Rashi thought she went to the Beit Midrash of Shem [for Rashi, the place to ...

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Grandfathers in Halakhah

by R. Gil Student Grandparents are connections to our past. They are two steps closer to Sinai, a chain in the transmission of Torah. They help raise us and teach us. Not only did they hold us as babies but they held our parent, as well. I. Teaching Torah Grandparents fulfill a unique mitzvah by teaching their descendants Torah. The ...

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