Halakhic Positions

Miriam: The Greatest Woman

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Hakarat Hatov, gratitude, is a fundamental requirement in Judaism. It behooves us to know and understand the great accomplishments and achievements that Miriam, the sister of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaCohen, contributed towards our people. The Torah quickly passes over her demise by simply stating, “The children of Israel, ...

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Silent and Loud Prayer

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 101:2) states that the individual Shemoneh Esrei may not be recited in one’s heart or mind but must be articulated and verbalized so that one hears it oneself. On the other hand, one must not recite it loud enough for others to hear. The ...

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The Mesorah Community

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler In Mishna Eduyot (2:9), Rabbi Akiva states: “Ha-av zocheh la-bein, be-noy, u-veko’ach, u-ve’osher, u-ve’chachma, u-veshanim” [A father transmits to his son his physical features, his strength, his wealth, his wisdom and his longevity] and “Mispar ha-dorot lefanav, ve-hu ha-keitz“, [and the number of generations before him]. Rabbi Akiva then ...

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Two Types of Salvation

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler In the book of Shemot, we find an interesting dialogue between HaShem and Moshe Rabbeinu. After having firmly agreed to allow our people out of Mitzrayim, and indeed they were on their way, Par’oh again has a change of heart “Vayechazeik HaShem et lev Par’oh” (14:8) [HaShem hardens the ...

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Judges In Israel

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler In Parashat Yitro, we find Moshe Rabbeinu, sitting as judge, teacher and counselor for the entire nation. Yitro, his father-in-law, advises him to establish a judicial system of judges and courts, by delegating authority to the most capable men who will be assisting Moshe. Moshe heeds the advice of ...

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Iyun Tefillah

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler According to Rav Soloveitchik, prayer, tefillah, with a degree of self-confidence is acceptable but excessive confidence is not. The Rav based his premise on the Gemara Rosh HaShana (16b) which states that among the things that cause a person’s sins to be recalled by HaShem is Iyun HaTefillah. This ...

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The Wedding Ceremony

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The very first verse that Jewish parents teach their child is, “Torah tziva lanu Moshe, morasha kehillat Ya’akov” [Devarim 33:4] (Sukkah 42a). Our Sages had a tradition that the word “morasha” has a double meaning. The simple meaning of the phrase is that the Torah is the national heritage ...

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Hashavat Aveida: A Kiddush Hashem

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Many segments of the Torah, particularly in Sefer Shemot (chapters 21, 22 and 23), deal with civil laws and the Torah is teaching us, that these civil laws are, in fact, religious laws. The Torah is not only a description of laws between human beings and a moral code, ...

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Dual Aspects of Intelligence

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler In the format of the Shemoneh Esrei we begin with a sentence of petition, as in “Selach lanu ki chatanu” (Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned), this is followed with an affirmative sentence “Ki mocheil ve’solei’ach ata” (For You pardon and forgive), and then conclude with the ...

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Motivation of Sin

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The general topic of Teshuvah is not limited to any particular season or time of year, but is ongoing and always relevant. The Rambam, in the first chapter of Hilchot Teshuva lists the three stages one must go through to accomplish Teshuvah and receive forgiveness; HaKarat HaChet [recognizing and ...

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