Magazine

Why Do So Many People Not Sleep In A Sukkah?

by R. Gil Student Masekhes Sukkah holds a special place in my heart as it is the first tractate I completed. It is clear from this masekhta (e.g. Sukkah 20b and 26a) that men are commanded to sleep in a sukkah during the yom tov of Sukkos. And yet, so many frum Jews today do not. How are we to understand this disconnect between the texts we study and the contemporary practice ...

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Ve-Zot HaBerakhah: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein The last parsha of the Torah introduces itself as the berakhah Moshe conferred upon the Jewish people before his passing. Already there, Onkelos gives us more than we expect. Blessings of a Prophet Onkelos writes asher berakh Moshe neviya, that Moshe the prophet blessed, inserting the fact of his prophecy where the text did not. Similarly, Shemot 14;31 tells us the people believed ...

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The Later Rishonim of Germany – Part 1

by R. Aryeh Leibowitz During the later period of the rishonim, the French teachings of the Ri’s academy began to make major inroads in German intellectual circles. Until now, the German Talmudists – Rabbeinu Simcha, R. Yoel and his son the Ravyah, R. Yehuda HaChasid and his student R. Eliezer Rokeach – did not quote much from their French contemporaries, ...

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Arts and Crafts on Chol Hamoed During Coronavirus

by R. Gil Student Children are off from school and the schools are warning parents to avoid risky situations. Some are in quarantine. Many of the regular Chol Hamoed attractions are closed and those that are open may not seem sufficiently safe to concerned parents. What can you do over a full five-day Chol Hamoed? One possibility is arts and ...

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Ha’azinu: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Most of Ha’azinu is a song, a situation where Onkelos tends to stray from literal more than usual, I assume because poetry itself does not intend to be as literal as prose. Nonetheless, more than a few of his choices jumped out at me. The Comparison to Rain and Dew After calling heaven and earth to hear his ...

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Corona Policies and Clarifications for Yom Kippur

by R. Daniel Mann Question: We will review some practical issues for Yom Kippur that are likely to come up this year, in the shadow of Corona. Although local rabbis will address many of them and public policy may change, we assume our discussion will be helpful.   Answer: 1. Pushing oneself to daven with a minyan – Regarding most of ...

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Gd Can Call, We Are the Ones Who Have to Repent

by R. Gidon Rothstein The sixth of Rabbenu Yonah’s ways to hear the call to repentance reminds us we bear the final responsibility for finding our way to penitence. He writes (in my loose translation) “at all times the person should prepare him/herself for the encounter with the Creator, because no one knows when his/her life will end.” Knowing there ...

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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. ...

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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 ...

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