Latest Essays

Taking the Law Into One’s Own Hands

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYera, 5784: Choshen Mishpat 4 When we pick up in the middle, we don’t always know the background. Previous simanim, chapters, to Choshen Mishpat 4, discussed the numbers of judges needed for various kinds of court cases. Our siman opens with a rule from earlier, a random individual is not qualified to be a lone ...

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An IDF Soldier’s Dirty Uniform

by R. Gil Student When we pray, we talk to the King of kings. In that spirit, we should dress as if we are meeting a king (see Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim 91:5). Most people today are not as strict about this as they can be. It is rare to find men who wear a suit and tie for every ...

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Hagar and Avraham’s Encounter with Hashem

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Lech Lecha From childhood, I have enjoyed analyses of the Torah that account for te’amim, the notes that guide how we chant the Torah. [It started with a comment of the Vilna Gaon on the beginning of parshat Va-Yigash, too long to share here, but contact me and I’ll send it to you.] Be’er Lachai ...

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Apple Pie Achdut Isn’t Enough

by R.  Gidon Rothstein Apple pie tastes great, fills us (although there’s usually room for more), is a comfort food, and, per an ad from my childhood, joins baseball and hot dogs as core American experiences.  But it does not nourish, does not satisfy our dietary needs. In these sad and tense times, many voices celebrate the achdut, the unity, ...

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Halachic Principles of Pikuach Nefesh

by R. Daniel Mann Introduction: Over the past few weeks, we have on our minds the precious need to save lives, including by “pushing off” Shabbat to enable this. We will now present some of the halachic and practical underpinnings of the laws that pikuach nefesh (saving a life) takes precedence over almost all of the Torah’s mitzvot and prohibitions.      ...

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Audio Roundup 2023:41

by Joel Rich There’s a halacha I’ve heard stated many times that it’s better to stay in bed all day on yom kippur in order to be able to complete the fast rather than to go to shul (tfila btzibur et al) and have to have even a small break (ie shiurim). How would you analyze a similar question on ...

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Aruch HaShulchan and the Levels of Halachah

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Lech Lecha, 5784: More on Marriage and Children, Aruch HaShulchan Even HaEzer 1 Se’ifim, paragraphs, six and seven of Aruch HaShulchan’s restatement of Even HaEzer 1 put us once again in the interestingly fuzzy part of the world of halacha. Se’if six says a man should marry even if he already has many children, based ...

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