Magazine

Ha’azinu: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Most of Ha’azinu is a song, a situation where Onkelos tends to stray from literal more than usual, I assume because poetry itself does not intend to be as literal as prose. Nonetheless, more than a few of his choices jumped out at me. The Comparison to Rain and Dew After calling heaven and earth to hear his ...

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Corona Policies and Clarifications for Yom Kippur

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We will review some practical issues for Yom Kippur that are likely to come up this year, in the shadow of Corona. Although local rabbis will address many of them and public policy may change, we assume our discussion will be helpful.   Answer: 1. Pushing oneself to daven with a minyan – Regarding most of ...

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Gd Can Call, We Are the Ones Who Have to Repent

by R. Gidon Rothstein The sixth of Rabbenu Yonah’s ways to hear the call to repentance reminds us we bear the final responsibility for finding our way to penitence. He writes (in my loose translation) “at all times the person should prepare him/herself for the encounter with the Creator, because no one knows when his/her life will end.” Knowing there ...

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Is The Akedah Ethical?

by R. Gil Student It seems that every few years, someone argues that the message of the Akedah, the binding and near-sacrifice of Yitzchak (Gen. 22), is something other than that we should follow God’s commands no matter how hard they may be. I don’t want to speculate why people offer these suggestions and instead take them at face value. ...

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Say Your Sins, Say Your Truth

by R. Gidon Rothstein Speech Can Be Hard Because Speech Can Be Powerful One of the many valuable insights I have retained from reading Soloveitchik On Repentance has been the Rav’s explanation for the necessity of vidui, of saying one’s sins out loud, as part of the penitential process. Aside from its value for guiding our teshuvah, I suggest it ...

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The Later Rishonim of England and Provence

A new series by R. Aryeh Leibowitz of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, excerpted from a book available for purchase: here by R. Aryeh Leibowitz The Later Rishonim of England The Jewish community of early medieval England was strongly associated with the community of northern France.1)In 1066, the Norman (French) King, William I captured England in the battle of Hastings. This united France ...

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Rabbenu Yonah’s Calls to Repentance

by R. Gidon Rothstein (previous post on this subject: here) The Call of Torah Scholars In all times, the Jewish people have had leaders who try to point out to them places they are going wrong. Rabbenu Yonah urges readers to be open to their messages, recognize and accept where they hit home, and repent accordingly. Just doing so takes ...

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100 Blasts for the Homebound

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Because I am in the “at-risk” population, I will not go to shul for Rosh Hashana. I know how to blow shofar. Should I blow for myself 30 kolot, as is usually done for those who cannot make it to shul, or is it better to do 100? If the latter, should I do 31-60 ...

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Rabbenu Yonah’s Six Spurs To Repentance

by R. Gidon Rothstein Rabbenu Yonah’s Six Spurs To Repentance: Spurs One and Two Almost anything can become rote, even repentance. Observant Jews’ habituation to the High Holiday season—the tunes of the first night of selihot, the first Barkhua of Rosh HaShanah, U-netaneh Tokef, Kol Nidrei, and so on, might impede sincere repentance, make it rote rather than real. Rabbenu Yonah was already alert to ...

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When Shabbos Is Shofar

by R. Gil Student This year, we do not blow shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah because it is Shabbos. To prevent people from carrying a shofar where there is no eruv — something very relevant this year when many people will be praying in homes and backyards — the entire Jewish people will refrain from blowing shofar ...

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