Latest Essays

Interfaith Dialogue IV

Rabbi Shalom Carmy writes to the editor of The Commentator about R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik’s attitude towards Christianity, including entering churches and teaching Torah to Christians. Like everything this eminent scholar writes, hapokh bah ve-hapokh bah for there is much in between the lines.

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Mussar Sayings

I came across a short list of sayings from some of the most influential of the ba’alei ha-mussar (I almost wrote the greatest of the ba’alei ha-mussar, but the nature of such people is that the greatest were probably anonymous and lost to history). Rather than copy the entire page here, I picked only two quotes. Go there for more: ...

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Homosexuality in Halakhah V

I have been meaning to blog R. Chaim Rapoport’s excellent book Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View. The author is a prominent rabbi in London who, though a Lubavitcher hasid, tends to a mainstream synagogue and serves on the Chief Rabbi’s cabinet. The author is clearly an expert in halakhah and a master bibliographer. Additionally, he has written his ...

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Avodah Zarah Wigs VI

A letter by R. Dovid Ribiat, author of The 39 Melochos, has been posted to the web in which he argues that wigs from India are permissible according to R. Moshe Feinstein. UPDATE: I removed the link to R. Ribiat’s letter.

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Avodah Zarah Wigs V (and Water In New York)

The most recent issue of Avodah has two interesting posts about the wig controversy. R. Elazar M. Teitz explains why he believes there is no avodah zarah issue with the hair from India. R. Seth Mandel does as well, and describes his efforts in the past to understand the production process of wigs. As a bonus, R. Mandel gives us ...

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Principles of Faith

R. Hayim Soloveitchik’s strong stance on the denial of a principle of faith is well known through the writings of R. Elhanan Wasserman. The following is a fascinating confirmation that I found in Making of a Godol (p. 538 – emphasis added): The closest that R’ Hayyim came to coercion according to Toras Hayim was the explanation that he gave ...

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Avodah Zarah Wigs IV

After a little investigation we determined that my wife’s nice wig contains only European hair – a combination of spending a lot of money (a gift from my mother-in-law) and my wife preferring a curly wig. All is well in my house tonight.

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Understanding the Patriarchs

R. Aharon Lichtenstein on how to relate to the apparent sins of our great forefathers: However, although we cannot deny these sins, we must view them in light of Chazal’s overall attitude toward these personalities. Generally, Chazal and the Rishonim relate to Moshe with obvious reverence… Chazal exhibit the same respect and reverence for other gedolei Yisrael, as well, depicting ...

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