Magazine

Is The Akedah Ethical?

by R. Gil Student It seems that every few years, someone argues that the message of the Akedah, the binding and near-sacrifice of Yitzchak (Gen. 22), is something other than that we should follow God’s commands no matter how hard they may be. I don’t want to speculate why people offer these suggestions and instead take them at face value. ...

Read More »

Say Your Sins, Say Your Truth

by R. Gidon Rothstein Speech Can Be Hard Because Speech Can Be Powerful One of the many valuable insights I have retained from reading Soloveitchik On Repentance has been the Rav’s explanation for the necessity of vidui, of saying one’s sins out loud, as part of the penitential process. Aside from its value for guiding our teshuvah, I suggest it ...

Read More »

The Later Rishonim of England and Provence

A new series by R. Aryeh Leibowitz of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, excerpted from a book available for purchase: here by R. Aryeh Leibowitz The Later Rishonim of England The Jewish community of early medieval England was strongly associated with the community of northern France.[1]In 1066, the Norman (French) King, William I captured England in the battle of Hastings. This united France ...

Read More »

Rabbenu Yonah’s Calls to Repentance

by R. Gidon Rothstein (previous post on this subject: here) The Call of Torah Scholars In all times, the Jewish people have had leaders who try to point out to them places they are going wrong. Rabbenu Yonah urges readers to be open to their messages, recognize and accept where they hit home, and repent accordingly. Just doing so takes ...

Read More »

100 Blasts for the Homebound

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Because I am in the “at-risk” population, I will not go to shul for Rosh Hashana. I know how to blow shofar. Should I blow for myself 30 kolot, as is usually done for those who cannot make it to shul, or is it better to do 100? If the latter, should I do 31-60 ...

Read More »

Rabbenu Yonah’s Six Spurs To Repentance

by R. Gidon Rothstein Rabbenu Yonah’s Six Spurs To Repentance: Spurs One and Two Almost anything can become rote, even repentance. Observant Jews’ habituation to the High Holiday season—the tunes of the first night of selihot, the first Barkhua of Rosh HaShanah, U-netaneh Tokef, Kol Nidrei, and so on, might impede sincere repentance, make it rote rather than real. Rabbenu Yonah was already alert to ...

Read More »

When Shabbos Is Shofar

by R. Gil Student This year, we do not blow shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah because it is Shabbos. To prevent people from carrying a shofar where there is no eruv — something very relevant this year when many people will be praying in homes and backyards — the entire Jewish people will refrain from blowing shofar ...

Read More »

The Later Rishonim of Ashkenaz – France II

A new series by R. Aryeh Leibowitz of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, excerpted from a book available for purchase: here by R. Aryeh Leibowitz   R. Moshe of Coucy (סמ”ג, ר’ משה מקוצי) R. Moshe (d. 1260) was a student of R. Yehuda of Paris and a contemporary of R. Yechiel. He too participated in the Paris disputation of the Talmud. R. ...

Read More »

Nitzavim-VaYelekh: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos: Nitzavim Nitzavim-Vayelekh are, together, still a very short parsha (and the last one before Rosh HaShanah). In the name of completeness, I wanted five comments of Okelos on each, so it was catch as catch can. Once More on Anthropomorphism Early on in our journey through Onkelos, I pointed out his determined rejection of the literal meaning ...

Read More »