Halakhic Positions

Lashon HaRa Against an Israeli

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik Speaking Lashon HaRa Against a Jew Living In Eretz Yisrael Is Like Speaking Against Eretz Yisrael by R. Aharon Ziegler Ezra decreed that the Berachot and Kelalot (curses) of Bechukotai must be read before Shavuot and those of the Mishna Torah (Ki-Tavo) before Rosh Hashanah (Gemara Megillah 31b). Rav Soloveitchik noted that harsh ...

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Yom Tov & Electricity

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Chazon Ish (Rav Avraham Karelitz, 1878-1953) held that illuminating light bulbs on Yom Tov was an issue of “Boneh”, and therefore he ruled that it is absolutely Assur on Yom Tov. Rav Soloveitchik on the other hand, based upon his understanding of the physics of electricity, felt that ...

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Why Is the Torah Considered “Our Torah”?

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rav Soloveitchik was very fond of quoting his great grandfather, the Beit HaLevi, who discusses exactly why Hashem gave us the Torah and consequently helps us understand its role in our lives. He explains that the gift of the Torah was given to our people so that we would ...

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Chok

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rav Soloveitchik very often stressed that at times when death occurs or tragedies strike, Halacha does not permit us to question “why”. The only exception is on Tisha B’av, when we are permitted to question ‘Eicha” (How did this happen? How was it possible?) And that one day permission ...

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Insincere Conversions

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Rambam in Hilchot Issurei Bi’ah (13:17) writes “A convert who was not examined or who was not informed about the commandments and the punishments [for transgressing them], but was circumcised and immersed in the presence of three laymen, is deemed a [valid] convert.” Rav Soloveitchik commented that the ...

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Halakhic Significance of the Israeli Flag

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler Rabbi Yisrael Lau, Former Chief Rabbi of Israel and currently the chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv tells of a young rabbi who turned to Rabbi Ruderman, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner-Yisrael. He said that his congregation refused to accept a gift from a Holocaust survivor of a parochet, a ...

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Inviting Non-Observant Jew for a Meal

Many families face the problem of whether or not to invite non-observant friends or relatives to a Shabbat or Yom Tov meal. Extending an invitation to a non-observant Jew to join a Yom Tov se’udah involves the guest driving to the meal by car (unless they are neighbors), and that may constitute a violation upon the host of the  prohibition ...

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Teiku: A Principle of Faith

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The greatness of finite man is that he is able to admit that not everything in this world is he able to understand and that there are things beyond his comprehension. Rav Soloveitchik recalled that as a young boy, studying Gemara with his father, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, he once ...

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Bishul Akum

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler The Mishna in Avodah Zara [35b] lists several items that are prohibited for us to eat, one of them being Shlakot, food that was cooked by a non-Jew. Both Rashi [ibid.] and Tosafot [38a] state the reason for this restriction was to discourage intermarriage. Even if the food was ...

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Significance of the “Amen” Response

Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik by R. Aharon Ziegler We must recognize the importance of answering amen during the Chazarat HaShatz (Repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei). When the Shali’ach Tzibbur recites a Beracha, and one fails to answer amen, there is an element of implication that one is not in full agreement with the words of the Shali’ach ...

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