Halakhic Positions

Establishing Our True Identity

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler According to Rav Soloveitchik, real Teshuva, or Teshuva Gemurah, requires a change of attitude, philosophy and personality. In the last perek of Tehilim, Psalm 150, we find the pasuk “Kol HaNeshama Te’halel Kah,” which seems simple to understand, but is rather difficult to translate. The Radak believes its meaning ...

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Teachers of the World

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler According to Rav Soloveitchik, Chazal [Our Sages] speak about Matan Torah [Giving of the Torah] in the halachic terms of marriage, because there is a covenant binding our people with HaKadosh-Baruch-Hu, the same way there is a covenant binding husband and wife. The only difference is that the covenant ...

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Single Women Lighting Shabbat Candles

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler About thirty years ago, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe began a campaign to encourage single women to light Shabbat candles. The campaign was aimed largely at Jews who are not observant of Jewish law. However, there was also encouragement given to those who are fully observant. While there are obvious ...

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Kedusha Unites

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler In the Torah, [Shemot 24:12], HaShem tells Moshe, “GO UP TO THE MOUNTAIN AND REMAIN THERE, AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE LUCHOT HA’EVEN, (The stone Tablets)”. The Gemara Brachot (5a) comments, that the phrase “LUCHOT HA’EVEN”, refers to the Ten Commandments. Rav Soloveitchik noted that throughout the Torah ...

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The Breaking of the Glass

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The common practice is that the Chatan [groom] breaks a glass at a wedding. Many assume that this is to remind all those in attendance of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, as is mentioned in the Rama to Orach Chaim [Siman 560]. This idea is based on the ...

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The Splendor of Clothes

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler It is a well known fact that clothes make a difference in the way people view and respect an individual. Clothes can even pervert a true judicial verdict. The Gemara She’vu’ot [31a] relates that if two litigants appear before a Beit Din, one of them dressed in expensive up-dated ...

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Remembering and Destroying Amalek

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler According to the Rambam [Hilchot Melachim 5: 4, 5], the Mitzvah to destroy the seven Canaanite nations no longer applies because Sancheriv dispersed the nations. We therefore are unable to definitively identify any members of those seven nations. However, the Rambam fails to rule similarly regarding the Mitzvah to ...

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Free Will Over Our Thoughts

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Although we are not punished for our improper thoughts as long as they are not committed to action, nevertheless, according to Rav Soloveitchik, we are held accountable for them and Teshuva should be done for them. The Rav explained, that Judaism believes strongly in the concept of free will, ...

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Ba’Omer or La’Omer

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler For the Mitzvah of counting the Omer we first recite the Beracha- “Asher Ki’deshanu Be’mitzvotav….” As we do before any Mitzvah we are about to perform, and then do the Mitzvah of counting. The Mechaber writes [Orach Chaim 489:1] that on the first night we recite “HaYom Yom Echad”. ...

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Who Removes Sleep From My Eyes

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler “Ha-Ma’avir Sheina Mei’ei’nai” This Beracha is recited every morning as part of Birkot HaShachar. In it, we thank HaShem for awakening in the morning which enables us to study Torah and attaching us to the Mitzvot. It is an epilogue to the Beracha we say at night before retiring- ...

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