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Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah Content Editor at the Orthodox Union. He is the author of six books, including The Tzniyus Book and The Taryag Companion. His latest work, The God Book, is available from OU Press as well as on Amazon.

Melacha #29 – M’macheik (Smoothing)

June 11, 2019, by

After tanning, the hides had to be scraped to remove any stray hair. Scraping a surface to make it smooth is the melacha of m’macheik. This melacha is not limited to animal hides and similar items; sanding a block of wood or scrubbing a pot with steel wool are likewise m’macheik. Even using bar soap […]

All About Mishloach Manot

March 12, 2019, by

The Origin of the Practice to Send “Shalach Manos” In the aftermath of the Jews’ salvation from Haman’s plot, the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly) instituted four rabbinic mitzvot to be performed on Purim: reading the megillah, eating a festive meal, giving gifts of money to the needy, and sending portions of […]

What is Purim?

March 8, 2019, by

What is Purim? Purim is the most joyous day in the Jewish calendar, celebrating the defeat of Haman, one of the most evil and vicious antagonists in all of human history, as recorded in the biblical book of Esther. Because of a slight to his own massive ego, Haman decreed death on the Jews of […]

Melacha #28 – M’abeid (Tanning)

January 22, 2019, by

The hides that were removed from the animals had to be preserved and transformed into leather. This entailed salting the skins to remove all moisture, stretching the skins to flatten them, and working the leather to make it supple. Collectively, these constitute the process of tanning, though performing any one of them would violate the […]

Melacha #27 – Mafshit (Skinning)

December 19, 2018, by

After the animal was slaughtered, its hide was removed. This is the melacha of mafshit, skinning. The melacha of mafshit can apply to any animal – mammal, fish or bird – that has a skin which can be removed. Mafshit is one of those melachos that one is not likely to encounter very frequently. For […]

Melacha #26 – Shocheit (Slaughtering)

October 3, 2018, by

After capturing the animal, the next step in preparing the hides was to slaughter it. This is the melacha of shocheit. Practically speaking, shocheit includes killing a creature, even without causing it to bleed (such as by drowning or suffocation), plus causing bleeding, even without death. Most of us don’t go around indiscriminately killing animals, […]

All About Hoshanos

September 20, 2018, by

What are Hoshanos? Why do we say them? Why is the schedule the way it is? What’s “Ani Vaho?” Find out all this and more with this colorful, downloadable PDF!

Self-Improvement During Sefirah: Says Who?

April 30, 2018, by

Q. Is the self-improvement thing during sefirah kind of made up? What do all the middos mean or where do they come from? A. Sefirah is an unusual… I was going to say holiday but it’s not exactly a holiday, is it? It’s something we do between holidays. All the Torah commands is that we count […]

Melacha #25 – Tzod (Trapping)

February 1, 2018, by

The next seven melachos involve the hides that were used in the coverings of the Mishkan. The first step in getting these hides was trapping the animal. This is the melacha of tzod. Tzod is an unusual melacha in that it is highly subjective. Closing the door to a room containing a loose bird might […]

Melacha #24 – Korei’ah (Tearing)

December 21, 2017, by

As mentioned in the previous melacha, the Mishkan was draped with coverings composed of several panels sewn together. Repairing these coverings required tearing the damaged area so that it might be corrected and re-sewn. This melacha, called korei’ah, is the reciprocal of tofeir, the act of sewing. It’s important to note that this tearing was […]