Latest Essays

Chanukah and Prayer for IDF Soldiers

by R. Gil Student I. Praying for a Soldier We pray for a time when there will be no more war. We also pray that until that time arrives, our soldiers return from the battlefield to their families and their lives. Is this prayer allowed? On a theological level, does the prayer make sense? Every soldier has loved ones who ...

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Some Identity Issues

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Miketz The brothers protest their innocence when Yosef’s household supervisor accuses them of stealing his goblet, as we would expect. In response, 43;10, he uses a phrase challenging to translate: gam atah kedivreichem ken hu, something along the lines of “also now as your words, so it is.” Gam often means also, but also “although,” the way the JPS ...

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A Mistake in the Beracha Acharona on Wine

by R. Daniel Mann Question: After Havdala, I recited quietly the beracha acharona on grape juice by heart, and finished it aloud for my family to answer Amen. I was caught off guard when my wife alerted me to the fact that I mistakenly finished off “… al ha’aretz v’al peiroteha” (instead of “al ha’aretz v’al pri gafnah”). I do ...

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Audio Roundup 2023:48

by Joel Rich Is the duty to join in a milchemet mitzva limited to those dwelling in eretz yisrael? Younger teenage boy as shatz – comment as to why to pick one: But there are two countervailing concerns: First, we need someone who can grow up comfortable taking the amud for when he is a zaqein veragil [adult and fluent]. ...

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Beginning the Laws of Yichud

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Mikeitz Yichud is an area of halachah some people observe scrupulously and some—otherwise careful Jews—seem not to pay much attention, with gradations in between. Even HaEzer 22 gives us the basics of those laws; I hope this summary will help us consider how we might want to adjust or rejuvenate our engagement with this area ...

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Yosef and His Brothers: Lessons for Israel in Time of War

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz Things are not always as they seem. In the story of Yosef in Bereshis, we discover Yosef’s unique approach to his brothers. Instead of quickly revealing himself to them, Yosef chooses a longer path. Until the revelation to his brothers, Yosef responds to them by accusing them of being spies, takes his brother Shimon into ...

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Chanukah in the IDF

by R. Gil Student How does a soldier light Chanukah candles? There is an important rabbinic commandment to light Chanukah candles (really, lights) for all eight nights of Chanukah. Normally, we light in our homes, either in the window or right outside the door. When a soldier is at an army base, he can light there without worry. But what ...

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Yosef’s Lesson: Combating Indifference Today

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz When Yosef reveals himself in Egypt, he says, “I am your brother Yosef, whom you sold into Egypt” (Bereshis 45.6). However, as Rashbam comments on (Bereshis 37:28), the brothers did not directly sell Yosef. Instead, while they were eating some distance from the pit, Midianites passed by, extracted Yosef from the pit, and sold him ...

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