Latest Essays

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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Praying In a Tank

by R. Gil Student I. Where to Pray Soldiers, like all professionals, use their extensive training and experience to inform their behavior in the field but ultimately they must improvise based on real-life circumstances. Tanks offer limited room for personal movement. They do not have sleeping quarters. However, during war a soldier may not have the option to leave the ...

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Books Received

Lev Avos on Pirkei Avos by R. Yaakov Haber (Mosaica) Medical Halachah Annual, Volume 2: Applying Classic Principles to Contemporary Practice edited by Dr. Edward Lebovics (Mosaica)

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Redeeming a Captive Caught in the Legal System

by R. Gil Student I. Important Mitzvah In Jewish law and tradition, redeeming a captive (pidyon shevuyim) is the highest form of charity. The Talmud (Bava Basra 8a) refers to it with the unusual term of “great mitzvah” and Shulchan Arukh (Yoreh De’ah 252:1), the code of Jewish law, says that “there is no mitzvah as great as pidyon shevuyim.” ...

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What Is Kedushah, Anyway?

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Kedoshim Agreement of Tradition and Scripture I really should not be presenting HaKetav VeHaKabbalah’s reading of 20;19, because he focuses on female anatomy and the physical aspects of the act of sexual relations, topics I am not confident I can discuss appropriately for a venue such as this. I can’t fully resist, though, because his ...

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Counting Sefira Somewhat Early

by R. Daniel Mann Question: My shul davens Mincha right before sunset and Ma’ariv right after it. During the sefira period, may I rely on sefirat ha’omer done at that time?   Answer: We find different starting times for mitzvot of the night/next halachic day. The time for evening Kri’at Shema is tzeit hakochavim (=tzhk; the emergence of three stars) ...

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Finishing Yoreh De’ah 119

by R. Gidon Rothstein Starting Positive, Then Back to Lack of Trust Paragraph 43 of our long siman (and remember, Shulchan Aruch itself only had five paragraphs, suggesting this grew in significance in the interim)discusses those who sin out of fear. A convert who returned to his/her old religion due to governmental scrutiny or pressure (later in the paragraph, he ...

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