Halakhic Positions

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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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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No One Is Excluded From Teshuvah

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler “Veloh Tisov Nachala Mi’mateh L’mateh Acher”-“And no heritance will be transferred from one tribe to another”.(Bamidbar 36;9). Elisha ben Abuya, known as “Acher”, was a Tanna who adopted false theological beliefs. The Gemara Chagiga (15a) recounts how he (allegedly) heard a voice from heaven, encouraging everyone to do Teshuvah ...

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Emulating The Angels

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler According to Rav Soloveitchik, the Written Torah was given to us by HaShem, and therefore we are permitted to recite any Biblical passage aloud. This license is the basis of our ability to communally recite the Kedushah, depicted in the Bible as the song of the Malachim (angels), see ...

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Yigdal

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Many congregations have the custom of ending the Shabbat or Yom Tov Ma’ariv (Arvit) services with the recitation or singing of Yigdal. The idea behind this minhag  is based on the fact that with the conclusion of Tefilah  we should not rush out of the synagogue like school children ...

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Rules Must Be Consistent

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rav Soloveitchik noted that the Gemara Brachot 49a articulates the rule that the phrase which ends any Bracha of Shmoneh Esrei just before its concluding formula must contain the same theme as does the concluding formula itself. For example, the Bracha of Bareich Aleinu in the weekday Shmoneh Esrei ...

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Rewards of a “Rebbe”

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler In Sefer Shemot, beginning of Parashat Be’ha’alotecha (8:1) HaShem commands Aharon [HaKohen] to light the Menorah. This Mitzvah follows right after the dedication ceremony of the Altar in the previous parasha and Rashi tells us that this Mitzvah was meant to console Aharon for not having participated in the ...

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The Mood of Shabbat

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler When Moshe Rabbeinu revealed the mystery of Shabbat to the people, he told them “Remain every man in his place; no man should go out of his place on the seventh day” (Sh’mot 16:29). Man remains alone, and he should experience the Shabbat as a lone being. Rav Soloveitchik ...

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Should We Be Wearing Techelet Today?

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Radziner Rebbe, Rav Gershon Chanoch Leiner (Poland 1839-1891) declared that he had discovered the true Techelet. R. Leiner was a brilliant talmid chacham. He was also knowledgeable in chemistry, engineering and medicine. He proposed that the Chilazon was a type of squid known as the cuttlefish. He travelled ...

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