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The Obligation to Write a Sefer Torah

by R. Gidon Rothstein This week is a two for one, because just before the mitzvah from this week’s parsha, that every male Jew own/write a Torah, Rambam records the obligation for a king to write one. I hope that looking at them together will give us productive comparisons and contrasts. The Two Mitzvot Obligation 17 in Sefer Ha-Mitzvot records the command for each ...

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Returning To The Rav’s Teshuvah Lectures

by R. Gil Student Book review of: Before Hashem You Shall Be Purified: Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik on the Days of Awe (Expanded Edition) Edited by Dr. Arnold Lustiger OU Press, 205 pages Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (henceforth, the Rav) spoke in a majestic manner that captivated listeners for hours at a time. He dissected complicated halachic subjects in an exciting and ...

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Warnings to Help Us Stay in the Fold of God’s Service

by R. Gidon Rothstein While reminding the Jewish people they are entering a covenant with God, Moshe Rabbenu worries there might be among them some thinking “I will be safe when I follow my willful heart,” 29;18. Admitting he is explaining derech derash, in a more homiletical way [more likely reacting to issues of his time], Meshech Hochmah starts off with Sifrei’s reading of Devarim 11;15. ...

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One or Two Breaths?

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I will be blowing shofar in an Ashkenazi minyan. What should I be doing about blowing tashrat (tekia-shevarim-teruah-tekia) – with neshima achat (=na – shevarim and teruah with “one breath”) or shtei neshimot (= sn – a significant break between them)? Answer: The gemara (Rosh Hashana 34a) derives the need for three sets of shofar ...

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Audio Roundup 2022:37

by Joel Rich My comment concerning a shiur which discussed eulogies: From Your shiur it seems like the earliest sources were pretty clear that it’s for the honor of the departed and it was only later that the dual nature (also for the living)you articulated became accepted. In particular it seems strange that nobody before the gesher hachaim proposed that ...

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The Mitzvah of Hakhel

by R. Gidon Rothstein Sefer Ha-Hinuch folds Va-Yelech into Nitzavim, listing the two mitzvot in Va-Yelech as if they were in Nitzavim—he does not let on that there is such a parsha as Va-Yelech. If we remember that he thought Mishpatim was two parashiyyot, Mishpatim and Im Kessef, we see there he “gained” one, here he has “lost” one. This year, I’ll take one of those mitzvot for Nitzavim, the mitzvah of Hakhel, the other (writing a sefer Torah) for Va-Yelech. This is a good year to study Hakhel, ...

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Three Brief Reviews

In the Fall 2022 issue of Jewish Action, I review the following three books: Judaism of the Poskim: Responsa and the Nature of Orthodox Judaism by R. Gidon Rothstein Authentically Orthodox: A Tradition-Bound Faith in American Life by R. Zev Eleff Make Your Berachos Meaningful: A Deeper Understanding of the Opening Words of All Our Berachos by R. Mechel Handler Judaism of the Poskim: ...

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