Magazine

Emor: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Emor opens with a warning to kohanim to avoid tum’at met, the ritual impurity associated with the deceased. 21;2 tells us only li-she’ero ha-karov elav, his flesh close to him, may the kohen become ritually impure. Rashi follows Sifra in seeing this word as adding the kohen’s wife to the upcoming list of relatives (parents, children, and siblings). Onkelos writes le-karivei, his relative, which ArtScroll flags despite also recognizing ...

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How to Time Vatikin?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When minyanim closed, I started davening vatikin (starting Shemoneh Esrei (=SE) at hanetz hachama (sunrise=netz)). If I do not know precisely when netz is, is it better to err on the side of starting SE before or after netz?    Answer: That is a noble approach (see Living the Halachic Process II, A-5 on whether vatikin ...

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It Takes Two to Disagree

by R. Gidon Rothstein Learning to Disagree: Thoughts for When the World Renews I have interrupted my usual involvement with Akedat Yitzhak for seven weeks now, because a time of tzarah, of distress, obligates a response (I vividly remember mori ve-rabi R. Lichtenstein, zt”l, quoting Ta’anit 11a’s scorn for those who eat and drink during a time of trouble as if nothing were wrong, thinking to themselves shalom alekha ...

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Who Bentches Gomel On Coronavirus?

by R. Gil Student We bentch Gomel (recite the “Gomel” blessing) on being saved from a dangerous situation. How does that apply to Coronavirus? Arguably, everyone in the world is in a potentially life-threatening situation, those in the New York region and above the age of 65 even moreso. Additionally, we are now in some form of quarantine. When we ...

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Aharei Mot-Kedoshim: Lessons of NonLiteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Nadav and Avihu Died Because… The first verse of Aharei Mot times Hashem’s words to after the death of Aharon’s two sons, be-korvataim lifnei Hashem, when they came close (or approached) before Gd. Onkelos writes be-karoveihon eshata nukhrata, when they brought alien fire. As ArtScroll points out, the simple meaning of be-korvatam would be their having themselves gotten too close in some ...

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Kri’at HaTorah in the Shadow of Corona

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When minyanim are taking place with the permission of health authorities under social distancing rules, what should be done to separate “functionaries”? Answer: [This is being written as small outdoor minyanim just became re-permitted in Israel, and little has been written on the topic. Health rules may change by the time the column is read, ...

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What Tzeniut Really Means

by R. Gidon Rothstein Hatzne’a Lekhet: Rethinking Weddings and Funerals in the Light of Coronavirus Makkot 23b has a statement we all know, R. Samlai says there are six hundred and thirteen mitzvot in the Torah, two hundred and forty-eight obligations, three hundred and sixty-five prohibitions, and R. Hamnuna offers the verse of Torah tzivah lanu Moshe to support the idea. I find the next ...

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Missed Torah Readings

by R. Gil Student Most of us have missed the weekly Torah readings since March 21 (Vayakhel-Pekudei), some even from March 7 (Tetzaveh). When the time comes to return safely to shul, do we have to make up for the missed readings? If so, the congregation reads the (so far) 7 missed readings in addition to the new reading for ...

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