Latest Essays

Complaining to Moshe and God

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Beshalach Protests Proper and Im The comment of HaKetav VeHaKabbalah we are about to study does not convince me. Rather, I think it worth considering it to see how assumptions can affect even our greatest Torah scholars, to heighten our alertness to our own propensity to see the world the way we want rather than ...

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Trying on a Beged without Tzitzit

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I saw someone shopping for a tzitzit beged without tzitzit (so he could attach them), and he tried it on for size. I thought it was forbidden to wear a beged requiring tzitzit without them. Was he right to do so? Answer: We will explore three possible reasons to permit this, proceeding from the possible ...

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Audio Roundup 2024:3

by Joel Rich From a former client (evangelical) Checking in to make sure you and your family are ok. Praying for you and your family, Israel at large, Jews across the world, and against the scourge of anti-semitism. How do we understand that the halacha follows rava vs abaye except for yaal kgam? Did the later amoraim review each disagreement ...

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The Berachah Before the Ring

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Beshalach: Even HaEzer 34—The Berachah of Erusin It would be logical to think the beracha the rabbi makes before a groom gives a ring to the bride is a birchat ha-mitzvah, a blessing on the mitzvah of marriage. Aruch HaShulchan, Even HaEzer 34;1, points out problems with the idea. The text has us bless/praise God ...

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Audio Roundup Special: Revel Maimonides Conference

MAIMONIDES NOW & THEN – a public conference Sunday, December 17, 2023, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies in collaboration with Yeshiva University Museum present a public conference, sponsored by Terry and Gail Novetsky   “We are all Maimonideans now” (HT – Milton Friedman) The entire program can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdmPtNi1U4U   SESSION ...

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Blooming Hope in War Times: Tu Bishvat and Marah’s Tree

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz For months, we’ve fought a fierce battle. Eyes raised, fueled by unwavering faith, we anticipate the unknown future. In this shadowed week, two seemingly distant events echo a resounding message: even in the bleakest winter, spring waits. On Tu Bishvat (ט”ו בשבט), the New Year for Trees (  often referred to asחג האילנות), we celebrate ...

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Bo: Fifth Aliyah

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

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Navigating Antisemitism in the Modern Era

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz Navigating Antisemitism in the Modern Era: Is it time for an Exodus today? One of the questions we have been frequently asked by Jews living in different countries, both in the Western bloc and the Eastern bloc, as  a result of the surge of anti-Semitism in their countries, is whether they may remove the Mezuzah ...

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The Road to Nationhood Runs Through the Oral Law

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Bo Chazal Vs. the Text Menachot 37 defines the proper place for head tefillin to be the top of the head (the soft spot on a baby’s skull), despite Shemot 13;15 having said “between your eyes.”  More, Megillah 24 had particularly harsh words for someone who wore their tefillin on their forehead, called it the ways of the Karaites, who mock/denigrate ...

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