Magazine

Difficulty in Returning Stolen Funds

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Years ago, when I was working for a consulting firm, my bosses had me inflate hours we charged clients. (I received a set monthly salary). I now feel bad that I stole from my clients. I would want to return that money, but it is too hard to track down the clients and know how ...

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The Yosef Story as a Paradigm of Jewish History

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Twenty-Eight, Second Part R. Arama thinks many of the details of the Yosef story are placed there to tell us about the future, unneeded for the story itself. Our understanding of the story would not have suffered had the Torah told us only one of Par’oh’s dreams, for example, omitted the news of ...

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Private Eruvin and Emergency Keys

by R. Gil Student Many people have their own private eruvin, structures that allow them to carry on Shabbos. They do this with one or more neighbors by ensuring the area is closed, whether by gates, walls or doorway-like structures — a complicated matter that requires rabbinic oversight or approval. Additionally, they keep food for two communal meals, usually matzah, ...

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Va’eira: The First Aliyah

by R. Daniel Z. Feldman Commentary and insights into the first portion of this week’s Torah reading (Exodus 4:2-13). Delves into the parallels of the four leshonos of geulah and their relationship to the four cups of wine at the Pesach Seder. If you cannot see anything below, click on this link. See here for past weeks: here

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When Is Just A Rabbi Not Enough?

by R. Gil Student Not all scholars in any discipline have equal expertise and not all rabbis have equal authority. Complex or consequential questions must be taken to rabbis with sufficient expertise and experience to answer them properly. This idea is so self-evident that one who ignores it faces potential halakhic ramifications. Rav Meir (Maharam) of Rothenburg, in a responsum ...

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Va-Eira: Lessons of Nonliteral Onkelos

by R. Gidon Rothstein Onkelos and Metaphor I look for places where Onkelos translates the text other than how the words themselves read; in Parshat Va-Era, his leeriness of metaphor comes to the fore. Many verses refer to yad Hashem, literally the hand of Gd, and Onkelos has no consistent translation. In 6;8, Hashem refers to the oath made to ...

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Using Tzedaka Funds for Grandchildren’s Education

by R. Daniel Mann Question: Can one use ma’aser money to pay for their grandchildren’s education? Is there a distinction between grandsons and granddaughters or Judaic studies and general studies? If it is permitted, may I putting money in a 529 fund (which earmarks savings for education, primarily post-secondary in return for tax breaks for the donor in the US)? ...

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Human Freewill and the Course of History

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzhak, Sha’ar Twenty-Eight The tension between freewill and Divine foreknowledge has a long history in Jewish thought. In this sha’ar, R. Arama takes a position on a detail of the issue, Hashem’s plan for history does not force people into particular actions (history accommodates many versions, leaving people with choice about almost all their actions). He ...

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Is Daf Yomi the Answer?

by R. Gil Student Few things animate the intellectual discussions of the yeshivah world more than a debate on the best way to learn Gemara. Each yeshivah, and sometimes each shiur within a yeshivah, has its own unique method to understanding the text and commentaries, and its own approach to balancing the competing needs of breadth and depth, speed and ...

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Is the Torah Moral?

by R. Gil Student Review of: The Oral Law: The Rabbinic Contribution to Torah sheBe’al Peh Publisher: Maggid Press By Rabbi Chaim H. Schimmel Is there any value in trying to understand the origins and development of the Oral Torah? The Five Books of Moshe were dictated by G-d to Moshe and the remainder of the Bible was written by various ...

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