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Rabbi Yitzchak Blau

Human Initiative and the Divine Hand

February 10, 2010, by

“He shall certainly cure” (Shemot 21:19) — The School of R. Ishmael taught: “He shall certainly cure” From here it is derived that permission was granted to the doctor to heal. (Bava Kama 85a) The Rabbis taught: “King Chizkiyahu initiated six actions, three of which the sages endorsed and three they did not endorse. He dragged

Uninspired Prayer and Other Ubiquitous Crimes

December 23, 2009, by

Rav Amram said in the name of Rav: “From three sins a man cannot escape every day: sinful [lustful] thoughts, iyyun tefilla, and lashon ha’ra [speaking ill of others].” Do we truly think this about lashon ha’ra? Rather, it refers to the dust of lashon ha’ra [but not to lashon ha’ra proper]. Rav Yehuda said

Youthful Exuberance and the Wisdom of Experience

November 10, 2009, by

Sarah’s biblical epitaph enumerates the years of her life in an unusual fashion, with the word “years” repeated three times: “one hundred years and twenty years and seven years” (Genesis 23:1). Rashi quotes a midrashic interpretation comparing a hundred-year old with a twenty-year old and a twenty-year old with a seven-year old, explaining that Sarah