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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.

It’s Pronounced “Jif,” Not “Giff” (And Why That Matters)

September 18, 2019, by

I usually write about matters of Jewish thought but, given my background in linguistics, my pedantic personality and my tendency to use words like “pedantic,” I occasionally write about things like grammar, spelling and punctuation. I must not be alone in such interests because my column on the Oxford comma was surprisingly popular. When I

Even the Devil Can Cite Scripture

September 11, 2019, by

There is a certain Jewish activist organization that opposes Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza. The week of parshas Shoftim, this organization tweeted: This shabbat is Shabbat Shoftim. That parsha contains the enduring quote ‘tzedek, tzedek tirdof–justice, justice shall you pursue” Shabbat shalom to everyone who pursues justice, too Many, many people had

Book Review: God versus gods

September 4, 2019, by

God versus gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein Mosaica Press For 12 years, I’ve served as the administrator of the OU’s Nach Yomi, the two-year cycle of Neviim and Kesuvim (Prophets and Writings). As a result, I’ve had the good fortune to review Nach half a dozen times. One thing

It Kind of Is Your Fault

August 28, 2019, by

One of the most interesting aspects of my job is the random assortment of questions that I’m privileged to answer. It’s always enlightening to see what others come up with that might not have occurred to you or me. Two of the more interesting questions I’ve fielded recently include, “If God spoke to Moses face

“Naar Hayisi Gam Zakanti”

August 20, 2019, by

There’s a verse from Tehillim that (with the exception of the Chabad minhag) is recited at the end of bentching (birkas hamazon/grace after meals) and is sung as a beautiful niggun. It goes: Naar hayisi gam zakanti v’lo ra’isi tzaddik neezav v’zaro m’vakesh lachem. I was young and I became old but I never saw

Book Review: The Ethics of Leviticus

August 7, 2019, by

The Ethics of Leviticus Rabbi Dr. Abba Engelberg Kodesh Press “A book on Leviticus?” I hear you ask. “Why is he reviewing a book on Leviticus in August? We don’t read Leviticus until the spring!” First off, Torah is – or should be – evergreen. As an editor, I encourage writers to say, “In Exodus

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

July 29, 2019, by

It was the most unlikely of news stories. On a sunny mid-July weekend, 19-year-old Eleanor Walton and her friends attended the Ripon Races in Leeds, England. Walton, apparently looking resplendent in her white jumpsuit, was chagrined to find herself doused with red wine by another attendee, staining her previously pristine outfit. Oh, no! Is a

The Pinchas Paradox: The Dangers of Overcompensation

July 22, 2019, by

As I write this, it’s time for parshas Pinchas. As a parsha, I like it just fine; the narrative sections in sefer Bemidbar are some of the most exciting portions in the Torah. But the arrival of parshas Pinchas leads to one of my personal bugaboos: people referring to it as “parshat Pinchat.” This is

Life is Unfair (Thank God!)

July 17, 2019, by

Please complete the following quote from Pirkei Avos (4:1): “Who is considered rich? A person who ________________.” If you’re like most people, you probably completed that phrase with “is satisfied with his lot” or “is happy with what he has.” But that’s not what the mishna actually says. “Eizehu ashir? Hasameiach b’chelko” – “Who is

Only Shooting Stars Break the Mold

July 5, 2019, by

On June 26, 2019, Twitter user @ssavannahkramer, a student from Michigan, tweeted, “Somebody please read the first word of all my tweets over the past few months.” The next tweet in her thread, i.e., the previous one chronologically, said, “Once you start to believe that a person is more than just a person, you are