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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 #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 […]

39 Melachot: Melacha #20 – Potzei’ah (Detaching from the loom)

June 22, 2016, by

In the past several melachos, we stretched our vertical warp threads on the frame, set the heddles, and wove our cloth. The final stage of the weaving process is potzei’ah, detaching the cloth from the loom. This requires cutting the threads that hold the finished material in place. Removing stray threads from a garment on […]

39 Melachot: Melacha #19 – Oreig (Weaving)

February 8, 2016, by

We have threaded the warp with the vertical threads (see Melacha #17) and set the heddles to raise and lower these threads in succession (see Melacha #18). Our loom is now ready to weave. Passing the woof threads perpendicularly over and under the warp threads is weaving, also known as the melacha of oreig. One […]

Shedding Light on Chanukah: A Practical Guide

December 7, 2015, by

What is Chanukah? During the period of the second temple, the Syrian-Greek kingdom issued decrees against the Jews observing the Torah and following the commandments in an attempt to cause them to culturally assimilate. They disrupted the Sanctuary of the Temple and rendered it ritually impure. G-d sent redemption through a rebellion led by the […]

39 Melachot: Melacha #17 – Maisach (Threading a Warp)

November 12, 2015, by

We now enter the first of several melachos pertaining to the weaving process. There are several prerequisites that one must accomplish before sitting down to weave. The first is threading the warp. Here’s how weaving works: woven cloth is a series of perpendicular threads criss-crossing one another repeatedly. The vertical threads are called the warp […]

39 Melachot: Melacha #16 – Toveh (Spinning)

October 14, 2015, by

By this point, we have nice combed, dyed wool, ready to be spun into thread. Spinning entails the twisting of fibers together; this is the melacha of toveh. This melacha can be accomplished manually or with a tool. (The spinning wheel may be the most familiar instrument for spinning thread, though the spindle is a […]

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