Killing With the Divine Name

by R. Gil Student In 1927, when Rav Ahron Soloveichik was 10 years old, he sent a letter to his older brother Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who at the time was studying in Berlin. The young Ahreleh wrote an impressive essay, which is recorded, along with the reactions of his father and brother, in Iggeros Ha-Grid Ha-Levi (pp. 272-275). I. ...

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The “Unneeded” Altar, and Making Aharon and His Sons Into Kohanim

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tetzaveh Chapter thirty of Sefer Shemot details how to construct the altar found in the structure of the Mishkan, known as the golden altar, mitzbach ha-zahav, or the altar for incense, mizbach ha-ketoret. R. Mecklenburg wonders why the Torah waited until here, when the other furnishings were laid out in Terumah. Ovadiahmi-Bertinoro:The Incense Altar Honors ...

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Peeling an Egg with Writing on it on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Is it permissible for one to peel a hard-boiled egg on Shabbat if the shell has letters and/or numbers stamped on the side of the shell? Answer: Before seeing what the poskim have to say, let us analyze the involved issues. The potential melacha involved is mochek (erasing) of the letters/numbers. In all standard cases, ...

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When Meat and Milk Meet

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tetzaveh The prohibition against mixing meat and milk, one of the most specifically Jewish eating rules, applies only to when the two were cooked together, by Torah law. Siman 91 in Yoreh De’ah takes on other ways the two can mix, and the extent of issue thus created. Mixing Without Cooking The siman starts with ...

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The Kohen Soldier

by R. Gil Student Kohanim are the descendants of Aharon, the priests of our people. In past eras, a kohen had a special role in the nation. Even today, a kohen retains certain privileges and obligations, such as being called first to the Torah and not allowed to enter cemeteries. The question arose during World War I how far these ...

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Keranot, Parochet, and Aron

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Terumah I find I’ve studied HaKtav VeHaKabbalah at greater length than our other commentators in previous weeks. Terumah gives me a chance to recalibrate a bit. Horns and Extensions The Torah calls the corners of the altar keranot, 27;2, a word that really means horns. HaKetav VeHaKabbalah says the word was expanded from its original ...

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Are Newly Ripe Avocados Muktzeh?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Today, Friday, our avocados are not quite ready to eat. If they become ripe enough on Shabbat, may we eat them then? Answer: Fruit that are so unripe that they are inedible are muktzeh (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 308:31). When Shabbat begins, during bein hashemashot (twilight), several matters of halachic status are set for ...

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Bodily Cleanliness for Prayer

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Terumah Let’s stipulate we are all in close enough contact with our inner child to make bathroom jokes, then set aside the temptation. Siman 76 of Orach Chayim discuss the problems with the presence of feces or urine for prayer and how we can alleviate the issues. Manure Is Like Ervah, Except Where It’s Not ...

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