Tag Archives: Halakhah

Habad Messianism

I think by now we are all familiar with the particular form of Habad messianism that holds the deceased Lubavitcher Rebbe, R. Menahem Mendel Schneerson, to be the messiah. There are some who believe that he is already the messiah and wait for his resurrection, some who even believe that he never died, some who believe that he will definitely ...

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Humrah Society

We are all familiar with the trend towards crazy humros and how some people are going out of control. However, they seem to me to be the extreme and do not represent the norm. I am not implying that the Orthodox community as a whole has not moved towards increased observance and stringency. Rather, I question whether this is a ...

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Music on Yom Ha-Atzma’ut II

There is an excerpt posted online from a book by R. Shmuel Katz, author of the more popular Kedoshim Tihyu, about the first seventy years of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The passage excerpted is regarding Yom ha-Atzma’ut and the official attitude of the Chief Rabbinate. R. Katz records that, at first, the Chief Rabbinate declared that Yom ha-Atzma’ut has ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Avi Weiss’ Position

Introduction R. Avi Weiss is a very successful pulpit rabbi and Jewish activist. He has founded the organization Amcha that tries to stand up for the Jewish people in a number of venues. His efforts on behalf of the Jewish people and individual Jews in unfortunate situations demonstrate a caring heart and an effective organizational skill. However, in the area ...

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Music on Yom Ha-Atzma’ut

I have heard R. Hershel Schachter say many times that R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik was opposed to suspending any of the mourning observances of sefirah for the celebration of Yom ha-Atzma’ut, Israeli Independence Day. So, when a group at Yeshiva University would arrange to celebrate Yom ha-Atzma’ut and would invite R. Schachter to speak, he would gladly speak but would ...

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Guilt by Association

The Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat 3:2 writes, “A scholar is prohibited from sitting down to a court case until he knows with whom he is sitting lest he sit with men who are unfit and becomes part of a rebellious group rather than a court.” While this halakhah only technically applies to a religious court, it is important advice for ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. J. David Bleich’s Position

R. J. David Bleich is, in my opinion, an unfortunately under-appreciated giant of our generation. He holds a PhD in Philosoephy, lectures on Hullin and other subjects to semihah students at Yeshiva University, is a co-head of a kollel for dayanus at YU, teaches at Yeshiva College and Cardozo Law School and is a world-renowned expert on bio-medical ethics. He ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Eliezer Berkovits’ Position

In his book, Jewish Women in Time and Torah, R. Eliezer Berkovits discusses many issues regarding contemporary women and has a short section on Women’s Prayer Groups (pp. 74-83). R. Eliezer Berkovits studied in the Hildesheimer Institute in Berlin under the great scholar R. Yehiel Ya’akov Weinberg (author of Seridei Eish) and briefly served as a congregational rabbi in Nazi-dominated ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Yehuda Henkin’s Position II

Introduction I wrote in an earlier post in describing the writings of R. Yehuda Henkin: However, I do not believe that his responsa will ever become mainstream because his method of approaching a question is fairly unique and idiosyncratic. Let me once again clarify that I did not intend to insult R. Henkin with this comment. I was trying to ...

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Women’s Prayer Groups – R. Yehuda Henkin’s Position

The time has come to summarize and critique the writings of those who permit Women’s Prayer Groups. The first in this series is R. Yehuda Henkin, although as we shall see he does not entirely fit into this group. R. Yehuda Henkin is the grandson of the renowned ga’on R. Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, who was a world-recognized posek in the ...

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