Latest Essays

Spiritual Food

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz The Significance of Detail: The Elongated Vav and Rashi’s Word Choice This week’s parsha delves into the intricate laws of kashrut, specifying which animals, fish, birds, and insects are permitted as Kosher (Vayikra 11:42). Amongst many details the Torah states: כֹּל֩ הֹולֵ֨ךְ עַל־גָּחֹ֜ון וְכֹל ׀ הֹולֵ֣ךְ עַל־אַרְבַּ֗ע עַ֚ד כׇּל־מַרְבֵּ֣ה רַגְלַ֔יִם לְכׇל־הַשֶּׁ֖רֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵ֣ץ עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ לֹ֥א תֹאכְל֖וּם ...

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The Religious and the Non-Religious Soldier

by R. Gil Student In the Israeli army, it is common for fully Torah observant soldiers to serve by the side of soldiers who are not. When a soldier has to serve a shift on Shabbos, this raises the question of whether the observant soldier can or should trade days with a non-observant soldier. Sometimes, a non-observant soldier will volunteer ...

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Limits and Their Limits

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Shemini Tum’ah To Avoid I guess I assumed HaKetav VeHaKabbalah was largely a rationalist, I think because he quotes nontraditional readers of Torah and is invested in showing how Chazal’s reading of verses fits the plain sense of the text. I guess I also assumed (the danger of assumptions!) rationalists treat tum’ah as a Torah ...

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Moral Culpability for Unintentional Actions on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My coordination, balance, and eyesight have deteriorated. Despite my best efforts, not infrequently on Shabbat I bump into and move muktzeh items in my small apartment. Are my accidental movements of muktzeh violations of Shabbat? If they are, I wonder about the following sad scene. A person who passionately kept Shabbat all his life suffers ...

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Audio Roundup 2024:12

by Joel Rich From a WSJ piece, was the current structure of Chabad intentional? Part of Schneerson’s brilliance was to ensure that no one would succeed him as Chabad’s rebbe, with the result of distributing responsibility for his formidable legacy as far and wide as possible. In doing so, he reminded his many admirers that true spiritual genius is vanishingly ...

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Our Bodies, Our Prayers

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Shemini: Orach Chayyim 95 and 97 These chapters of AH are short enough to do two this time, expand our perspective of how our bodies do and should support our prayers. Our Feet Together Siman 95 starts with the idea of placing our feet right next to each other during prayer, to emulate the angels ...

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Audio Roundup Special: Dimensions of Jewish Ethics

by Joel Rich Dimensions of Jewish Ethics with Dr. David Shatz Divine Command and Human Decision making We believe that “ethics” were revealed at Sinai (as in pirkei avot = ethics of the fathers – given to Moshe at Sina). How do we respond to Euthyphro’s dilemma (“Is the pious to be loved by the gods because it ...

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Books Received

Haggadah Shel Pesach: Am Mordechai by Rav Mordechai Willig (RIETS Press) Essentials of Judaism: A Hashkafic Primer by R. Reuven Taragin (Mosaica) Empowering Seder Conversations Passover Haggadah by Eitan Ashman (Urim)

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Are Our Leaders True Leaders?

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz The story depicted in Parshas Shemini exemplifies the essence of authentic leadership.. Moshe Rabbeinu was the most humble man on earth (Bamidbar 12:3 וְהָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה עָנָו מְאֹד, מִכֹּל הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה). His interaction with his older brother Aharon Hacohen over the burning of the sin offering instead of eating thereof by his sons during ...

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