Halakhic Positions

Sippur Yetzi’at Mitzrayim

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Reciting the Haggadah at the Pesach seder is a fulfillment of the mitzvah of Sippur Yetzi’at Mitzrayim, telling the story of the Exodus. The Haggadah cites a Mishnah in Pesachim (116a) which states that: Rabban Gamliel used to say: Whoever does not mention these three things (on Pesach) does ...

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Mashiach

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rambam, in his Commentary to Mishnah Sanhedrin (Ch. 10) gives us his list of thirteen Ikarim, principles of faith, better know to many as the “Ani Ma’amin.” The most well known today is the twelfth – “I believe with complete faith in the coming of Mashiach, and even though ...

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Vesham’ru

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Many people coming to Yerushalayim are surprised and taken off guard when Friday night in Shul immediately after the beracha of “Hashkiveinu,” the shali’ach tzibbur begins Kaddish—a entirely omitting the pesukim of “Vesham’ru.” The fact of the matter is that Rav Soloveitchik himself followed this minhag. The Rav explained ...

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Dairy Bread

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Gemara Pesachim (36a) states, “One may not knead dough with milk and if he did this, he is forbidden to eat the bread for he may come to sin.” However, the Gemara adds that if one bakes the bread “k’ein turah” then prohibition does not apply. Rashi translates the ...

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Tefillah Preparation

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Gemara Shabbat (25b), tells about the Erev Shabbat preparations of the Tanna R’ Yehuda bar Ila’i. He would wash his face, hands and feet with hot water and wrap himself in a linen Tallit and he thus resembled a Malach HaShem (an Angel of G-d). The Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat ...

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Shabbat Zemirot

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Shabbat is a unique day for the people of Israel. The Midrash tells us that the Shabbat complained to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, saying, “Ribbono Shel Olam, all days of the week have a ben zug (companion) but I do not have a ben zug,” said HaKadosh Baruch-Hu, “Knesset Yisrael ...

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Teshuva: Two Themes

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler There are two types of Teshuva: Teshuva mi’Yirah and Teshuva mei’Ahava. The one called Teshuva mi’Yirah is motivated by awe and fear, which reduces the level of severity of the person who transgressed a mitzvah of the Torah. The other, called Teshuva mei’Ahava, is motivated by love of Torah ...

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Kavanah for Shema

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler According to Rav Soloveitchik, many mitzvot in the Torah involve an objective act, a ma’aseh hamitzvah, coupled with a subjective component of a kavanah (proper intention) for kiyyum hamitzvah. With respect to putting on Tefillin, for example, the ma’aseh hamitzvah is the very act of donning the Tefillin while ...

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General Principles and Detailed Laws

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik Rav Soloveitchik taught that the details of mitzvot written throughout the Torah are as vital to Torah observances as are the Aseret HaDibrot, the Ten Commandments The Rav explained that the Rambam stresses this point in his commentary to the Torah in many places, see Vayikra 19:2, Vayikra 23:24, and Devarim 6:18. Although ...

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Mitzvot and Kedushah

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik There are many ways to classify the mitzvot of the Torah. One of the most common approaches is to view some commandments as referring to obligations Bein Adam LaMakom, divine directives that refer to G-d – man relationships, and others as Bein Adam Lechaveiro, obligations between man and his fellow man. Rav Soloveitchik ...

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