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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 #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 […]

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 […]