Tag Archives: Review

Religious Hatred

I was quite surprised when I saw the letters from R. Yehiel Ya’akov Weinberg published by Dr. Marc Shapiro in The Torah U-Mada Journal. In particular, his letter (p. 118) stating that “More than Christianity hates Judaism, Judaism hates Christianity” seems bizarrely divorced from reality. My bafflement was relieved somewhat when I saw that R. Nosson Kamenetsky was also taken ...

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Understanding the Patriarchs II

(The first post on this subject is here.) I found, online, an article mentioned in one of the comments recently: Imitate the Ramban, Not the Professors: An interview with Shalom Carmy from Hamevaser, vol. 38 no. 1 One reason that people shrink the larger than life personalities of Tanakh to pop-psychology size is that they are accustomed to treat themselves ...

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Approaches to Midrash Halakhah

This post is in response to a question that Ezra Butler posted to his blog about “three schools of thought, each believing diametrically opposite beliefs about the root of rabbinic law. is it divine like the gaonim, man-learned like maimonidies, or man-chosen like nachmanidies.” I. Introduction In a 1994 lecture a Harvard Law School, Prof. Moshe Halbertal of Hebrew University ...

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Letter To A Philosophical Dropout From Orthodoxy II

R. Shalom Carmy was contacted by a former student who confessed that he lost his belief long ago and has become a confirmed Orthoprax Jew. Can Rabbi Carmy help him recover his faith? R. Carmy corresponded with this student and one of his letters has been published by Atid as a pamhplet, titled “Forgive Us, Father-in-Law, For We Know Not ...

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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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Kol Ishah III

(continued from here) V. Misexplaining Ervah R. Berman, in elaborating on the Franco-German position that he claimed to have found, explained that one may not recite keri’as Shema while listening to a woman sing because a woman’s voice is distracting. “[T]he central concern with hearing a woman’s voice is not its intrinsic sensuousness, but the purely functional concern that it ...

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Kol Ishah

It is generally understood that a man is not allowed to hear a woman’s singing voice. Exactly when this applies – only while she is in view or even otherwise, only live or even recorded, etc. – is a complicated matter of dispute that everyone should resolve with their own rabbis. I will not address these important practical topics. Instead, ...

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Solving the Agunah Problem

Over my vacation, I had the opportunity to read through R. Michael J. Broyde‘s not-so-recent book Marriage, Divorce, and the Abandoned Wife in Jewish Law. He calls this book a conceptual analysis, and it is. He makes a number of excellent and insightful points by distinguishing between the concepts underlying different views of divorce. I. Concepts of Marriage The first ...

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The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax II

I got my copy of R. Nosson Slifkin’s The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax. As is the author’s usual style, the book is beautifully done, with many pictures and a colorful cover. Unlike his other books, this one does not have enormous margins. This book is legitimately 200+ pages (albeit with a large font, but I attribute that to ...

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The Bialystoker Controversy

The following column was in The Jewish Press over a month ago and started quite a controversy. I will reproduce portions of the column, with my comments interpersed. The Jewish Press Friday, February 6, 2004 Halachic Questions Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen Carrying A Child On The Sabbath        Question: What is one to do on the Sabbath, in ...

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