Latest Essays

The Physical and the Spiritual, for God and for Us

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Mishpatim Going Up to “See” God The end of Parshat Mishpatim has another version of the story of the Giving of the Torah, well worth comparing to the one we read last week. For our purposes here, three verses of the story can be taken on their own terms, Shemot 24;9-11. To a plain reading, ...

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Important Announcement: TorahApp

by R. Gil Student In the past, we have discussed the importance of an app that accesses only traditional Torah texts. A new free app is now available that has extremely useful features along with a full Torah library curated (under my guidance) from the Sefaria library. I encourage you to take a look at TorahApp which combines both audio and text ...

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Reading Advertisements on Shabbat

by R. Daniel Mann Question: May one read advertisements on Shabbat? If not, is it permitted to read divrei Torah on the same page as an ad? Answer: One may not read shitrei hedyotot on Shabbat (Shabbat 116b). Another gemara may extend this prohibition. The mishna (Shabbat 148b) forbids reading a guest list on Shabbat. The gemara (ibid. 149a) cites ...

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Audio Roundup 2024:5

by Joel Rich Tshuvat hamishkal (repentance through weighty efforts?) does seem to have started with the rishonim (although chasidei Ashkenaz were heavily invested in it IIUC). The interesting question to me is did it exist before then and just not documented or was it something that the times called for in contrast to prior times? A poster commented on ...

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Dating and MisDating Shetarot

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Mishpatim Ideally, Jews operate their businesses according to halachah, just as much as their more obviously mitzvah lives. Were/when we find ourselves back in that preferred situation, we will document transactions with shetarot. Let’s spend one more discussion thinking about how the dating of those documents works or doesn’t work. Not Wrong Enough Last time ...

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Why Does Genocide Happen?

by R. Gil Student Genocide, the targeted killing of a people, is not a modern invention. Many have tried to kill the Jews, the biblical Haman being perhaps the most famous ancient example. Other nations have also faced genocide, some even suffering from extinction. We live in a time of great hypocrisy, when people who explicitly intend to destroy all ...

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What Will Happen the Day After the War?

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz There is a debate about what will happen the day after the war and there is an argument over whether we should be planning for the aftermath of the war during the time of war. We must be aware that for hundreds of people who have been killed, it is already the day after, as ...

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The Bookends of Parshas Yisro Teach Us: Slowly but Surely

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz The Jewish people have been at war for almost four months now. The immediate desire, naturally, is for victory. We live in an age of instant gratification – fast food, internet access, and the constant yearning for quick solutions, be it peace or the Messiah’s arrival. However, our weekly Torah portion, Yisro, offers a universally ...

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War and Epidemics

by R. Gil Student The 1848 (5608-9) cholera epidemic has become famous in Jewish history because it was the moment when the 37-year old Rav Yisrael Salanter first took on a leadership role. Rav Dov Katz, in his Tenu’as Ha-Mussar (vol. 1, ch. 12), describes how Rav Yisrael mobilized a rescue effort, secured a 1,500 bed hospital and volunteer doctors ...

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