Latest Essays

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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Required Suspicions About Fellow Jews

by R. Gidon Rothstein Yoreh De’ah 119, Continued We’re in the middle of thinking about when we must worry a fellow Jew might affect us with his/her wrong actions. (In paragraph twenty, AH reminds us chashud, implicated, means we do not have firm evidence. If we did, we would have to act more stringently.) When and to What the Chashad ...

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Audio Roundup 2024:15

by Joel Rich Question. During a recent class, I heard a rabbi mention that he’s very against small talk, and therefore one should always have a question in their back pocket so that when somebody comes over to make small talk, they can say I have a question for you. I generally agree concerning the importance of time management and ...

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Enlisting in the IDF

by R. Gil Student I. Employment and Slavery The issue of drafting Israeli yeshiva students into the IDF is a perennial political topic. I would like to discuss a related topic but without any political connection. In order to survive, a country has to be able to draft soldiers into its army. In halakhah, we call that part of mishpetei ...

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Doctors, businessmen, rabbis, and working professionals are learning Halacha and loving it!

Tailored for busy working professionals seeking meaningful and enjoyable learning experiences, the virtual halacha program ensures flexibility without compromising depth. As we embark on the summer zman, there’s no better time to join the VHP. Join us as we explore the intricacies of halachic rulings on dosh, melaben, tochen, and more in the Orach Chaim program, or delve into the halachos ...

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When to Invade Rafah

by R. Gil Student I. A Time for War Koheles (3:6) notwithstanding, there is never a good time for war. We hope and pray for a time when there will be no war. But when war is necessary, presumably there should be no time constraints to it. However, the halakhah is otherwise, as we will see. If the Israeli Defense ...

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