Latest Essays

Orach Chayyim 113, Where to Bow in Prayer

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Behar Our last few times learning together, we saw chapters where AH has many more paragraphs than did SA (as we will again next time, on steroids!). Our siman has nine se’ifim, in both SA and AH. For whatever that’s worth… Basics of the First Blessing of Shemoneh Esreh Although the chapter will discuss where ...

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Soldiers and Tzitzis

by R. Gil Student After the horrific terrorist attacks of October 7, there was a sudden burst of interest in tzitzis. So many people, particularly soldiers, wanted to start wearing tzitzis that there was a severe shortage. Based on the sudden demand, the IDF Rabbinate needed 60,000 garments with tzitzis fringes. Volunteers joined together to wrap and tie tzitzis for ...

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Speak and You Shall Say

by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz Speak and You Shall Say: A Light for Ourselves and Our Children in Times of Darkness- Drawing Inspiration From Great Moments “G-d said to Moshe: Speak to the kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and you shall say to them: A man shall not defile himself for a deceased among his people.” (Leviticus 21:1) Rashi points ...

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Conflicting Documents, Conflicting Loans

by R. Gidon Rothstein Choshen Mishpat 85 Battling Documents We start with conflict. Sarah (not her real name) produces a shetar chov, a document declaring a loan Leah owed/owes. Leah has one of her own, showing Sarah sold her some other property, says she must have already paid the loan, otherwise Sarah would never have sold her the field. Sarah ...

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The Power of Vinegar

by R. Daniel Mann Question: I made pareve cucumber salad in a fleishig eino ben yomo (not used in 24 hours) container. About an hour later, I used a milchig serving spoon, which then stayed in it for about a half hour. What are the halachic statuses of all of the elements involved?   Answer: As is often appropriate in ...

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Audio Roundup 2024:16

by Joel Rich If adam harishon had been given a choice of eating from the eitz hachaim or eitz hadaat, which one should he have picked (pun intended)? Why? The Rambam in the peirush hamishnayot (Avot 1:16) categorizes types of dibbur. 1. Mtzaveh (commanded) 2. Asur (forbidden) 3. Maus {disgusting} 4. Ahava (beloved) and 5. Mutar (permitted. How do you ...

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Finding Sanctity

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Emor Three of the four comments I found for this time address how we bring kedushah into the world. While we usually translate the word along the lines of “sanctity’” let’s see how well these comments fit the definition. The first, HaKetav VeHaKabbalah’s comment to 24;21, focuses on another topic I have long thought underrecognized, ...

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Audio Roundup Special: Rabbi Wiederblank

by Joel Rich Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank -Rambam on Hashgacha Pratis Part 1 The Rambam’s position on hashgacha pratit (HP) is complex. Any approach must maintain both din and mishpat. You can’t build a philosophy on one or two agaditas but rather on a total picture (hence it’s complex ☹)    Part 2 According to the Rambam’s philosophy yissurim ...

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