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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 #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 […]

Melacha #23 – Tofeir (Sewing)

October 16, 2017, by

The Mishkan was draped with a series of coverings. The coverings were made of individual panels that were sewn together into two large tapestries that were then joined by clasps. Connecting the individual panels one to another required sewing, which is the melacha of tofeir. Tofeir entails joining any two objects together, not just through […]

Melacha #22 – Matir (Untying)

June 2, 2017, by

The nets that were tied, as described in the previous melacha, sometimes had to be untied. This is matir (untying), the reciprocal melacha of kosheir (tying). When a melacha has a reciprocal (such as writing/erasing, igniting/extinguishing, etc.) a good rule of thumb is that if you can’t take something from status A to status B, […]

Passover: The Night of Protection

April 4, 2017, by

At the Seder, we have the practice to open the door, ostensibly for the prophet Elijah. This isn’t really the reason we do it. Rather, it represents the merging of two previously-existing customs: pouring a cup for Elijah and opening the door. We pour a cup for Elijah, who is intended to usher in the […]

Melacha #21 – Kosheir (Tying)

November 1, 2016, by

Taking two threads – or two ends of the same thread –- and tying them together in a knot is the melacha of kosheir. The Talmud in tractate Shabbos (74b) discusses the uses of tying in building the Mishkan. One use was to make the nets that were necessary to catch the chilazon, a shellfish […]