Magazine

Adding Salt to Hot Food on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: In our home, the health concerns of some and the taste concerns of others clash in regard to salt in our food. If I cook with less salt, may people add salt to their soup or cholent on Shabbat? Answer: We will discuss the issues that impact the different permutations of the question. The gemara ...

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Finishing Bal Tosif, Finishing De-Rabbanan

by R. Gidon Rothstein Petihah Kollelet: Finishing Bal Tosif, Finishing De-Rabbanan In this week’s installment, Peri Megadim continues to struggle with Rambam’s view of bal tosif, and the prohibition generally. To How Many Mitzvot Does It Apply? He briefly wonders why Rambam did not prescribe lashes for violating bal tosif. The reason cannot be bal tosif’s counting as a lav she-bichlalut, a general prohibition relevant to many issues, and therefore without ...

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Marrying Against Parents’ Wishes

by R. Gil Student A child‘s obligation to honor his parents necessarily infringes on that child’s freedom. If you always want to obey your parents, the mitzvah does not add much. Choosing a spouse is one of the most important decisions of a person’s life. On the one hand, parental input is never needed more than in such life-altering decisions. ...

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Minyan. Community. Peer Group

by R. Eliyahu Safran Peer group pressure has gotten a bad rap. Inevitably, when we hear “peer group pressure” we picture teens and young adults being drawn into drug use, promiscuity and all manner of risky behavior; we imagine young professionals being lured into living above their means. Too often, we overlook that peer group pressure can also be a ...

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Behar-Behukotai: One More Double Parsha Before Shavu’ot

by R. Gidon Rothstein Behar opens with discussion of the laws of shemittah, referring to it as a Shabbat la-Shem, a phrase we might casually take to mean “a Sabbath to Gd.” Shemittah a Sabbath? To Gd? Onkelos 25;2 translates the Torah’s references to the year as a shabbat, both in its verb and noun forms (ve-shavetah ha-aretz, the Land shall shavat, or Shabbat la-Shem) with a version of shamot, ...

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Giving Ma’aser Years Later

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Over the years, I have received cash gifts for birthdays, bar mitzva, etc. and never gave ma’aser kesafim (=mk) from them. I would like to do so now but do not remember the exact amounts I received. What should I do?  Answer: Indeed, the standard ruling is that in most cases, cash gifts are subject ...

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A First Look at Bal Tosif

by R. Gidon Rothstein Petihah Kollelet: A First Look at Bal Tosif The Torah twice prohibits adding to its laws (Devarim 4;2 and 13;1), at first glance a simple idea. Peri Megadim does not tell us why he placed this discussion here, in the middle of a list of the types of rules and regulations in the Torah. From his start with Rambam’s version ...

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Shavuos Early Shacharis

by R. Gil Student I. Learning Torah All Night It is common practice today for men to stay up all night learning Torah the first night of Shavuos. It is not clear to me when this custom originated but it began spreading broadly in the 16th century and became standard practice in the 17th century. Rav Avraham Gombiner (17th cen., ...

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