Magazine

Changes in Tefilla for those Visiting Israel?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I hope to visit Israel this summer. Should I say “morid hatal” in Shemoneh Esrei like Israelis, and should I continue to say Baruch Hashem L’olam (=BHLO) at Ma’ariv?      Answer: First, realize that neither of these differences has to do with being in Eretz Yisrael per se (in contrast to the different practices of ...

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Finishing the Second Part of the Petihah Kollelet

by R. Gidon Rothstein We have a few categories left in Peri Megadim’s list of unusual Jews, each treated briefly. Notably, he does not discuss the “ordinary” Jew, nor the differences between Kohanim, Levi’im, and Yisre’elim. It reminds me of the story of two younger fish who swim by an older one, the latter says “how’s the water today, boys?” After ...

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Honoring an OTD Parent

by R. Gil Student I. Whom to Honor Is a child obligated to honor a parent who leaves Torah observance? We are speaking here of the child’s obligation and what is best for the child, not the parent’s right however that may be defined. Let’s say that a child whose parent stopped being religiously observant asks what the Torah requires ...

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What Makes Our Laws “Jewish”?

by R. Eliyahu Safran Everyone has rules.  Every society, culture, family and group.  Having rules and laws hardly makes one distinct.  From the ancient Laws of Hammurabi to English Common Law which, though not codified, has governed Britain since the twelfth century, laws have defined each and every society and culture on earth. Yet, though every people who ever existed ...

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Va-Ethanan: The Road to Service of Gd

by R. Gidon Rothstein Punishment Comes, Although We Can Hope It Does Not Late in the parsha, 7;9, the Torah says Gd pays His enemies to their faces, to destroy them. Onkelos adds tavan di inun avdin, the good they have done, before destroying them. For evildoers, reward comes in this world, because Gd never fails to give all deserved reward. It contrasts ...

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Homeopathic Remedies on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permitted to ingest homeopathic remedies on Shabbat?   Answer: We start with our approach to “alternative medicine,” which includes homeopathy (some use the terms interchangeably). Alternative medicine is subject to disagreement, from the grass roots to health agencies. As in most realms, extreme opinions are likely incorrect. Some treatments under the umbrella of alternative ...

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Petihah Kollelet: Half Slaves and Tumtum

by R. Gidon Rothstein The category of the half-slave provides a good test case for many halachic issues, because the person is partially a Jew and partially a servant. One way this can happen is if partners own a servant together, and one frees him or her. The idea has inspired significantly more halachic discussion than I suspect it deserves in terms of frequency of ...

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How Do You Spell Rabbi?

by R. Gil Student The Sages use different titles to refer to different levels of scholars because not all rabbis have equal authority. In order of increasing importance: Rav, Rabbi, Rabban, the scholar’s name (Tosefta, Eduyos 3:4). Among the last group we include Hillel and Shammai. Generally speaking, Rabban refers to someone who led the Sanhedrin. You had to obtain ...

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A Nation’s Loss

by R. Eliyahu Safran A Nation’s Loss: National Mourning in the Jewish Tradition The news of a loved one’s death utterly transforms us and our perception of the world.  A young man, returning to his studies after being called home following the death of his father said, “The buildings were all in their familiar places, but it was a wholly different ...

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Devarim: Finding New Forms of Leadership

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Devarim: Moshe Rabbenu and the People He Had to Lead Torah for the New Generation Ramban thinks the whole book was Moshe’s idea and initiative. He knew the new generation of Jews, none of whom had been twenty at the Giving of the Torah, needed to hear it from a living witness, so they could enter ...

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