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Jewish Holidays

Yizkor in Halacha and Hashkafa

October 3, 2019, by

For many people, including many who are otherwise not observant, Yizkor has become an indispensable part of their shul experience. Indeed, although Yizkor can halachically be said privately and without a minyan, it has become a major draw to the synagogue, especially on Yom Kippur. How is it permitted to conduct an ostensibly sad ceremony […]

The Magdil/Migdol Controversy: The Haftarah for Shvii shel Pesach

May 1, 2019, by

The haftarah of the seventh day of Pesach is the song of David HaMelech to parallel Az Yashir/Shirat HaYam in the Torah Reading. The last verse of the haftarah (Shmuel II 22:51) reads: “מגדול ישועות מלכו ועושה חסד למשיחו לדוד ולזרעו עד עולם” This pasuk is repeated almost word-for-word in Tehillim (ch. 18) where the […]

Kriyat Yam Suf, Achdut, and Sefirat HaOmer: Takeaways from Pesach

April 29, 2019, by

ויבאו בני ישראל בתוך הים ביבשה והמים להם חומה מימינם ומשמאלם” – שמות יד:כב” ובני ישראל הלכו ביבשה בתוך הים והמים להם חמה מימינם ומשמאלם” – שמות יד:כט” Why does the Torah virtually repeat the pasuk with minor differences? Did they go into the sea which then turned into dry land or did they walk […]

Kitniyot Conundrums

April 17, 2019, by

When ashkenazim go to sephardi homes, what can they eat, what is the status of the plates and utensils? The origin of kitniyot and the concern about chametz getting mixed in with kitniyot. Kitniyot cannot become chametz, the concern is chametz getting mixed in (since chametz is asur b’mashehu). Kitniyot is not actual chametz and […]

Rebbe Akiva Inspires All Generations

April 16, 2019, by

Why were the five tannaim gathered at the home of Rebbe Akiva on the Seder night and not at home? Rebbe Eliezer himself praised those who stay home for Yom Tov rather than going away! Additionally, two of the others were Rebbe Akiva’s rebbeim, why would they be at his house? Why was he able […]