Magazine

The Limits of Jewish Debate

by R. Gil Student Rabbis love to argue. The Talmud and its commentaries overflow with disagreements. The contest of proof and counterproof furthers the search for truth. However, sometimes engaging in debate can lead to unintended consequences. In a debate over a highly technical subject, observers may not be able to determine which answer has more credibility. If disputants cannot ...

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Can Medical Care Make an Animal a Terefah?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 7 Cheshvan: R. Ovadya Yosef on Whether Medical Care Can Make an Animal a Terefah Terefot as defined by the Gemara present a challenge Rambam already noticed. The Gemara seems to view a terefah as an animal that sustained a mortal wound (there is a Talmudic view that terefah chayah, a terefah can live, but that’s not important here), but the list of ...

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Unintentional and Innocuous Deceit

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I ordered something and had it delivered to my in-laws’ house. I forgot to mention it to them, so when it arrived, they assumed it was a gift for them and thanked me. Is it permissible to “play along” and pretend it was intended for them? Answer: One forbidden form of geneivat da’at (deceiving someone) ...

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What We Do and Don’t Tell

by R. Gidon Rothstein The Missing Background of Avraham’s Life Parshat Lech Lecha opens with Hashem promising Avram all sorts of bounty (including vehyeh berachah, and be a blessing, the words that open the comment I am summarizing here). Ramban wonders what happened before this conversation—why did Hashem want Avram to leave where he was, why would his obedience merit these great ...

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