Magazine

The Obligation to Honor Parents: Limits and Extensions

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Iyyar: Tzitz Eliezer on Limits and Extensions of the Obligation to Honor Parents Among other values, halachah reminds us of the limits of human intuition, the advisability of turning to a more objective source of insight than whatever we happen to think. Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer 12;59, dated 11 Iyyar (without a year), offers an enlightening example on a particularly thorny topic ...

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Rav Itzeleh Volozhiner and the Bi’ur

Rav Itzeleh (Yitzchak) Volozhiner succeeded his father as rosh yeshiva of the premier yeshiva in Europe. A Torah scholar and famous orator, he also served as a leading representative of the Jews to the Russian Czar. Rav Itzeleh Volozhiner was royalty in the yeshiva world, the son of Rav Chaim Volozhiner with descendants that include the Netziv and the Soloveitchik ...

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Bracha Al Ha’kos

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Rambam distinguishes between the different Brachot which are recited over a cup, [Al Ha’Kos.] Regarding Kiddush, Birkat HaMazon, and Birkat Nissuin (Sheva Brachot), Rambam rules that the Brachot must be specifically recited over a cup of wine. (Hilchot Brachot 7:15, Hilchot Shabbat 29:17, and Hilchot Ishut 10:4). However, ...

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Lying to Avoid Embarrassment

by R. Daniel Mann Question: If someone asks you a tactless, unnecessary question, the answer to which is embarrassing, and refusing to answer is like admitting the truth, is it permitted to lie? Answer: The broadest of the Torah prohibitions against lying (even without language of oaths) is “mid’var sheker tirchak” (distance yourself from a matter of falsehood) (Shemot 23:7). ...

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Nature Includes Miracles

by R. Gidon Rothstein R. Arama summarizes the fifteenth sha’ar with a proposition whose importance I have found increasingly clear in the past few years, Nature includes miracles [this is the reverse of the rationalist idea everything which looks miraculous to us is actually natural; it means Nature includes much more than the ordinary patterns we see, including things we would dismiss as ...

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Can A Woman Serve As Sandek?

by R. Gil Student The Rema, in his glosses to Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh De’ah 265:11), writes that a woman may not serve as sandek if a man is available for reasons of modesty (“peritzus”). This ruling – which has come under question recently by some in the Jewish community – is related to a larger discussion of the role of women in circumcising boys. I. ...

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Vinegar Made in Wine-Flavored Casks

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Iyyar: R. Moshe Feinstein on Vinegar Made in Wine-Flavored Casks [Click here for the audio version.] Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Yoreh De’ah 2;36, dated 4 Iyyar 5722 (1962) starts with vinegar, and takes us of a tour of a few general rules of kashrut.  The Assistant Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg asked about the alcohol in it, produced in utensils previously used ...

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Power of Hirhur Teshuvah

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Gemara Avodah Zara (18a) relates that when R’ Chananya ben Tradyon was burned at the stake by the Romans, pieces of wool soaked in water were placed over his chest to prolong his agony. The Roman executioner, intensely moved by his suffering, asked R’ Chananya whether he could ...

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