Birkat Kohanim in a Shiva House

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I was surprised to find, in a shiva minyan, an avel who did Birkat Kohanim. I didn’t know whether to tell him that I had never seen this before. Was it okay that he did so?  Answer: Generally, an avel is obligated in all the mitzvot, with a prominent exception being not wearing tefillin on ...

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Audio Roundup 2022:20

by Joel Rich Blog -It is true that Torah students are allowed to rely on public funds for their livelihood. However, this permit is not so simple Me-I think what you’re seeing here is a example of how the human mind resolves cognitive dissonance. One would prefer not to live with the knowledge that one is doing something less than ...

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To Redeem a First Born

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Bamidbar has no mitzvot in Sefer Ha-Hinuch, so She’iltot will open the door for us. Probably because this parsha has the replacement of the first-born by the Levi’im, he records the mitzvah of pidyon ha-ben, redeeming human first-born. It fits nicely with last time, when we looked at ma’aser behemah, some of whose rules were derived from verses about bechor behemah, first-born animals. Aruch Ha-Shulhan Yoreh De’ah 305;1 gives ...

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Dreams, Social Media and Jewish Law

by R. Gil Student Dreams are a common part of daily life to which the Talmudic Sages attribute great importance. They see in dreams both danger and opportunity, and therefore created three ceremonies or opportunities to rid ourselves of bad omens in dreams. However, on a more careful look, we find conflicting thoughts about dreams in the Talmud and a ...

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Behar: Third Aliyah

by R. Daniel Z. Feldman Commentary and insights into the third portion of Parashas Behar. If you cannot see anything below, click on this link. See here for past weeks: here

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Minyan. Community. Peer Group.

by R. Eliyahu Safran Peer group pressure has gotten a bad rap.  Inevitably, when we hear “peer group pressure” we picture teens and young adults being drawn into drug use, promiscuity and all manner of risky behavior; we imagine young professionals being lured into living above their means.  Too often, we overlook that peer group pressure can also be a ...

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The Workings of Jewish Life, How to Earn the Good and Avoid the Bad

by R. Gidon Rothstein Natural or Supernatural Protection and Support Parshat Behukkotai has a set of blessings, should the Jews act wisely and follow the Torah, and punishments/curses, should they do the reverse. In the blessing part, 26;6, Hashem promises to remove (ve-hishbati, more literally, I will give the land respite from, the same root as Shabbat) hayyah ra’ah, vicious beasts, from ...

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Five Quick Divrei Torah on Behar

by R. Gil Student Link to audio In less than ten minutes: 1) Maharam Schick on how we know the source of Shemitah, 2) Divrei Shaul on why we rest and the land rests, 3) Kesav Sofer on the punishment for lending with interest, 4) Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl on the impact of oppressive work, 5) Chazon Yechezkel on the double ...

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Interrupting Shabbat Meal for Shema/Sefira

by R. Daniel Mann Question: When we make early Shabbat, is it better, when nighttime falls, to recite Kri’at Shema and sefirat ha’omer during the meal or to wait until after the meal? Answer: We will be assuming you were correct in starting the meal. To make that clear cut, you should have started the meal at least a half-hour ...

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Audio Roundup 2022:19

by Joel Rich From the Ami Museum (formerly beit hatfutzot) The Jews of Babylonia did not regard themselves as exiles and made attempts to locate sites of Jewish historical importance in their vicinity that would actually testify to their local roots. That explains how they “discovered” the furnace in which Abraham burned the idols, the gravesite of Daniel the Prophet ...

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