Parashat Vaera 5768
- Parashat Vaera – Glorifying Hashem’s Name one Plague at a Time
- Text Message Responsa
- Stories of Rabbenu – Our Rabbi: Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook – Torah Scholars (continued)
- Shut She’eilat Shlomo – Questions of Jewish Law: Waking up to music from a clock radio
- On Air – In Vitro Fertilization, Dissecting a cadaver, Sleeping in room with holy books and more
- Silence does not constitute admission
- Which Kosher Certification is Acceptable?
Question: Couldn’t Hashem redeem the Nation of Israel with one plague?
Answer: Of course! Our Sages already asked: Why was the world created with ten utterances? Couldn’t Hashem have created it with one utterance (Avot 5:1)? Our world is not an expression of the divine ability to act at a single moment, but to act in stages. The Ramchal – Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto – writes that each day the world gets closer to its wholeness. All the worlds that were created previously were done piecemeal, but they all could be exalted. Our world was not created with the omnipotence of the Master of the Universe. Hashem limited His power and revealed Himself in the way in which humans work: little by little, according to a divine plan which continues to be actualized over time. It is not true that the Master of the Universe needed to bring plague after plague because of the stubbornness of Pharaoh’s heart. On the contrary, the Blessed One caused the stubbornness of his heart in order to bring the plagues upon him. “For I have made his heart and the heart of his servants heavy so that I can put My signs in his midst, and so that you may relate in the ears of your son and your grandsons” (Shemot 10:1-2). In our days as well, do not despair for the Redemption which is progressing slowly, slowly. This is not divine weakness – G-d forbid, but the greatest strength for the sake of increasing sanctification of Hashem’s Name.
[From Rav Aviner’s commentary on the Haggadah – The Ten Plagues]
Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a week. Some appear in the parashah sheets “Ma’ayanei Ha-Yeshu’ah” and “Olam Ha-Katan.” Here’s a sample:
- Q: My friend is having difficulty in learning Gemara, am I obligated to help him?
- A: Based on the need and your ability.
- Q: How can one favorably view a school which separates Ashkenazic and Sephardic girls?
- A: I do not see a way to view it favorably.
- Q: Someone saw a demon next to his house. How should we relate to this?
- A: It is just his imagination.
- Q: Does Ha-Rav suggest fasting for “Shovavaim Tat”? (There is a custom of the Arizal to fast on the Thursdays during which the first eight parashiyot of the Book of Shemot are read. The first letter of each parashah spells out “Shovavim Tat.” The Arizal said that this is a propitious time for purifying the soul from sin)
- A: No. Our master, Rav Kook, said that the way now is to strengthen the body and the soul in order to serve Hashem.
- Q: What is the reason for covering tzitzit in a cemetery and is it permissible to learn there?
- A: 1. In order not to mock the destitute, since the dead cannot fulfill mitzvot. 2. It is permissible to help the soul of the deceased ascend.
- Q: If I am in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei and the person leading the davening begins the Kedushah, what should I do? Am I still considered to be davening with the community?
- A: Yes, davening with a community is when one begins reciting the Shemoneh Esrei with the community. Regarding the Kedushah, stop davening and listen. “Shome’a ke-oneh – One who listens is considered as if he says it.”
- Q: My cellphone has mincha and ma’ariv on it. Can I use it for davening?
- A: Yes, it is like a Siddur (obviously not on Shabbat).
- Q: Is it permissible to play games with play money on Shabbat?
- A: Yes. Some permit it, although it is preferable to refrain from doing so (Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 16:32).
- Q; Is it permissible to learn Tanach, Mishnayot, etc… during the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei or while I am waiting for the repetition?
- A: It is permissible while you are waiting, but not during the repetition itself.
Rabbi Aryeh Levin – the Tzaddik of Jerusalem
Our Rabbi once walked with Reb Aryeh on Shabbat and someone was smoking. Reb Aryeh ran to the person and said: How can you smoke on Shabbat on the street where Rav Kook is walking?
Our Rabbi would direct people to him for his good counsel. (Ha-Rav David Chai Cohain).
Ha-Gaon Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik
Someone visited our Rabbi and told him in the name of Hagaon Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik that the Torah scholars who are outside of Israel need to remain there in order to educate the community (See Nefesh Ha-Rav, pp. 98-99). Our Rabbi responded harshly and painfully: “But assimilation devours them there.”
Ha-Rav David Cohen, “Ha-Nazir”
Regarding the book “Kol Ha-Nevu’ah” (The Voice of Prophecy), our Rabbi said that this is the personal book of “Ha-Nazir.”
This book was placed in the last row of our Rabbi’s bookshelf which was covered by a curtain.
He said about this book: It is dangerous to talk about prophecy today. (Ha-Rav Achyah Amitai).
When a student asked our Rabbi his opinion about the book “Kol Ha-Nevu’ah,” he responded: I am not familiar with it. The student was surprised and said: Ha-Rav is not familiar with Ha-Nazir’s book? Our Rabbi repeated: I am not familiar. Since the student was not satisfied, he said: I do not understand how it is possible to include quotes from complete heretics in a holy book. (Ha-Rav Eliyahu Mali).
HaRav Natan Ra’anan (son-in-law of our master, Rav Kook)
At a gathering for Yom Yerushalayim, Rav Nosen (as he was known) was the opening speaker and our Rabbi was the closing speaker. Rav Nosen was introduced and referred to as Rav Kook’s son-in-law and a few other titles. Our Rabbi felt that they did not honor Rav Nosen with enough titles and ask the introducer to add more.
HaRav Shlomo Goren
Our Rabbi was asked why he respected Rav Goren when all of the great Rabbis of the generation came out against him, and he was therefore chosen to be Chief Rabbi by the secularists who also voted for the position of the Chief Rabbi. Our Rabbi responded: It is not true that “all of the great Rabbis of the generation came out against him,” and many great Rabbis, decisiors of Halachah, publicized their opinions that no one should question his rulings including Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (Letters of our Rabbi and see Shut Bnei Banim vol. 2, p. 210).
When Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Goren, the Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, spoke in the yeshiva on Yom Ha-Atzmaut, our Rabbi stood. (Ha-Rav Achya Amitai).
A talk given after lunch at the yeshiva –
Waking up to music from a clock radio
- Q: Is it permissible to wake up to music from a clock radio?
- A: The Gemara in Gittin (7a) records that our Sages forbade listening to music after the destruction of the Temple. The Rambam (Hilchot Ta’aniyot 5:14) followed by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 560:3) rule that instrumental music is forbidden. The Rama (ibid.) based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 3:2) rules that instrumental music is only forbidden for someone who is accustomed to it, such as kings who wake up and go to sleep with music. The custom follows the Rama, although many disagree (Bach, Magen Avraham, Mishnah Berurah ibid., Chayei Adam 137:3). Many authorities say that the original decree did not include “serious music,” like classical music, but music which could lead to inappropriate behavior, as is discussed in the Gemara in Sotah (48a). According to the opinion of the Rama, there would seem to be a problem waking up to a clock radio since he explicitly says that it is forbidden “such as kings who wake up…with music.” Answer: It is not the same thing. The point of setting a clock radio is not to have pleasure from the music, but to have a loud noise to wake you up. Even if you take pleasure from hearing the music it is considered “a benefit which comes to a person against his will” (Pesachim 25b). The Ron (ibid.) says that this is a pleasure which one experiences, but “he did not come for this.” For example, if you are on the way to our yeshiva and you hear Christians singing, you did not come for the singing, you came to get to the yeshiva. It is therefore permissible to wake up to music, since the music is not for pleasure, but to have noise in your ear.
- Q: If the songs contain verses from the Torah, doesn’t one need to say a blessing over Torah first?
- A: While the Vilna Gaon (Biur Ha-Gra 47:4) says that even Torah thoughts require a blessing over Torah, the majority of authorities disagree and we follow them.
Every Tuesday and Thursday night Rav Aviner answers questions of Jewish Law and faith on the radio in Israel. On the Air presents a sample of these answers each week.
In Vitro Fertilization
- Q: Is it permissible to have In Vitro Fertilization from your husband if you want to have more children?
- A: Yes, it is certainly permissible. I recommend working with “Machon Puah” (a halachic fertility clinic) to ensure that it is performed correctly. There was once a mix up in the United States where a black baby was born to a white couple. The nurses mixed up the sperm. It happens, they are human. It is not forbidden to have a black baby, but it was not theirs. “Machon Puah” ensures that this will not occur.
Dissecting a cadaver
- Q: I am a medical student, and there is a dispute among the students. Is it permissible to perform a dissection of a cadaver?\
- A: The fact that some students have one opinion and other students have another opinion is correct because there are opinions of Rabbis on both sides. Our Master, Rav Kook, prohibited dissecting a cadaver because there is an obligation to bury the dead, it forbidden to benefit from the benefit dead and to disgrace the dead. Rav Kook said that the solution is to dissect non-Jewish cadavers (Shut Da’at Cohein #199). There are many poor countries – like India – were many people die and they sell the dead bodies in order to buy food for the living. This was his solution. Other authorities, like Rav Uziel, say that if a Jew donates his body to science, it is acceptable (Shut Mishpatei Uziel, Yoreh De’ah vol. 1). By doing this, he forgoes his disgrace. Others say that it is not even disgracing the dead. Disgracing is simply cutting a dead body for no reason, but here they are learning how to be doctors – it is not a disgrace. Furthermore, some say that the prohibition against benefiting from the dead is only a physical benefit – to make drums with the skin, G-d forbid. Here, however, it is permissible because the benefit is knowledge. In sum: We should use non-Jewish cadavers, and many people say that it is even possible to learn everything from plastic models. When there is no choice, however, you can rely on the lenient position.
Minimum amount of meat to wait six hours
- Q: Is there a minimum amount of meat one must eat in order to wait six hours before dairy?
- A: There is an idea of tasting the food and then spiting in out and not having to wait, but any amount of meat requires one to wait six hours.
Milchig toaster oven for fleishigs
- Q: I usually use my toaster oven for milchigs, can I use it for fleishigs?
- A: No, you would need to heat it until it is red hot which is almost impossible. You can also perform “hagalah” – pouring boiling hot water all over it, but this is difficult from a technical perspective. It is better to continue with milchigs.
Witchcraft and sorcery
- Q: Do witchcraft and sorcery exist?
- A: There are three opinions: 1. The Ramban says that they exist even today. 2. The Rambam says that they never existed and it is pure deception. 3. The Tiferet Yisael in the name of Maharam Chagiz says that once they did exist, but they no longer do. Today, however, we have not heard reliable testimony that anyone has seen witchcraft or sorcery. There are all sorts of people who claim they are witches or that they have seen such things, but when they are checked they are found to be nothing. The Association of Magicians in the United States, which is run by James Ramsey, says that you can show them any sorcery in the world and they can perform the same thing with tricks. They also say that anyone who claims that he has unnatural powers and can prove it will receive a prize of one million dollars. Hardly anyone tried and those who tried were videotaped and it was shown to be a deception. People have quick hands, but when you watch it slowly on the video you can see what they are doing. Today, we do not see that such things exist, but even when they did exist, nothing happened to someone who was full of faith in Hashem. We learn this from the Gemara in Sanhedrin (66b) which says that a “witch” tried to cast a “spell” on Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa, one that had worked on others before. He stopped her by saying: “There is none beside Him.” Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin in his book “Nefesh Ha-Chaim” (end of sha’ar 2) says that nothing will happen to anyone who believes that “Hashem is one and His Name is one.”
Sleeping in room with holy books
- Q: My children are visiting for Shabbat. Is it permissible for them to sleep in a room with holy books?
- A: There is no problem to sleep there. If they are a married couple who may be intimate, you need to cover the books with two covers.
Blessings on drinking
- Q: If I am cooking at home and drinking all day long, do I say one blessing at the beginning and the end, or do I have to say a blessing each time I drink?
- A: If you are continually drinking and do not have “Hesech Ha-Da’at” – taking your mind off of the blessing, you only say one blessing. For example, the bottle is there all of the time. But if you drink and then stop for twenty minutes, and then take a different drink, etc…, you have to recite a blessing each time.
Preparing at lunch on Shabbat for Seudat Shelishit
- Q: It is permissible to prepare enough salad at lunch on Shabbat to be eaten at Seudat Shelishit as well?
- A: There is discussion in Halachah about preparing types of foods immediately before the meal and there is a prohibition of “tochen,” which includes cutting up things into very small pieces. There is no problem, however, in cutting up salad at lunch for later if the pieces are not too small.
Drinking before Kiddush on Shabbat
- Q: Can I drink before my husband returns from shul on Shabbat?
- A: If you drink before davening – although it is forbidden, but allowed under certain circumstances, there is no Kiddush. The reason is that time for saying Kiddush – which is after davening – has not arrived. If it is after you davened, either at shul or on your own, you have to say Kiddush. If you are not davening, you have to say kiddush before drinking.
- Q: I try to wear special shoes for Shabbat. If it is raining, I change to my weekday shoes. Is this permissible?
- A: Yes, there is no law of wearing special shoes for Shabbat. This is your own personal wish. The main words are “you try.”
Rabbenu Tam Tefillin by accident
- Q: If someone accidentally says the blessing and puts on Rabbenu Tam Tefillin instead of Rashi Tefillin, do you have to say another blessing?
- A: Yes, you must say the blessing again because there was “Hesech Ha-Da’at” – you took your mind off of the blessing and also because much time has passed. Even if you put on another pair of Rashi Tefillin you would have to say another bless. Furthermore, you do not usually say a blessing on Rabbenu Tam Tefillin because it is stricture and you therefore did not plan to have the blessing on the second set of Tefillin. Despite all of this, putting on Tefillin without a blessing is still a mitzvah as it says, “A lack of blessings does not impede fulfilling the mitzvot.”
Bowing during davening
- Q: When we bow during the Kedushah and other times, which way do we bow first?
- A: We bow to the right first during the Kedushah, although there is no source for bowing during the Kedushah. The same applies at the end of the Shemoneh Esrei. Rabbi Yehudah Halevi asks, why do people “shukel” (swaying back and forth) during davening? He answer that there were not so many books in the past and people would “shukel” in order to be able to look in the book, but it is not a law. The Rama in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 48:1) does mention swaying and says it is based on the verse: “All my bones shall praise you HaShem” (Tehillim 35:10). This is also not a law.
Prayers for the ascension of one’s soul
- Q: One can add personal requests in the Shemoneh Esrei in the prayer “Shema Kolenu.” Is it permissible to add a prayer for a loved one’s soul to ascend in Heaven during the first year after his death?
- A: It is permissible. The soul is continually ascending, each year for a thousand generations. I understand that people light candles for the ascension of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s soul, and he left this world almost two thousand years ago.
Convincing daughter to wait for Hashem to send the right match
- Q: My daughter has been divorced twice. How do I convince her to wait for Hashem to send her the right match?
- A: Nowhere is it written that Hashem will look for the perfect match for someone. Hashem did not promise this. It is therefore not proper to wait for it. If Hashem promises manna, and I do not believe that it will come, this is a problem. Rabbi Avraham ben Ha-Rambam says that conversely if Hashem does not promise us manna and I say, “Where is the manna?” – this is chutzpah. No prophet promised this. They had to travel far to find Yitzchak a wife. One must exert effort, and he will merit a blessing. Our Sages explain the verse, “For Hashem, your G-d, has blessed you in all of your handiwork” (Devarim 2:7). You might think that this is true even if you sit idle. The Torah therefore says “in all of your handiwork.” If you perform it, you will be blessed. If you do not perform it, you will not be blessed (Midrash Socher Tov, mizmor 23). Along with exerting effort, you must also pray to Hashem for help. One requires both of these elements. The Gemara in Niddah (70b-71a) says: What should a person do in order to grow wise? Answer: He should spend much time learning and minimize business. They said: Many did so, and they did not become wise. Rabbi Yehoshua says that he should just pray. The Gemara says: One must both learn and pray because neither will work without the other. Question two: What should a person do in order to become wealthy? Answer: He should engage in business with integrity. They said: Many did so, and it did not work. Rabbi Yehoshua: He should pray. The Gemara says: One must both work and pray because neither will work without the other. Question three: What should a person do in order to have male children? Answer: He should sanctify himself at the time of relations. They said: Many did so, and it did not work. Rabbi Yehoshua: He should pray. The Gemara says: One must both sanctify himself and pray because neither will work without the other. A person acts and Hashem helps. This is the way.
Yahrzeit on Rosh Hashanah
- Q: My father’s yahrzeit is on Rosh Hashanah, when should the memorial be held?
- A: You recite kaddish and learn Torah to benefit his soul on Rosh Hashanah, but the memorial should be moved up or delayed. There are opinions on both sides. The soul of the deceased is judged each year, because it is exalted and rises to a higher level. He is not judged on what was already judged. We add merits and he ascends. According to this reasoning, it should be moved up, but the whole idea of a memorial is not mentioned in Halacha. Fasting is mentioned, but this is not. This is a proper custom, but you cannot say that it is forbidden to do this or that, since there is no obligation at all. Many people do not even have a memorial. It should be done when it is good for people. It should not be a burden for them, because the will of the deceased certainly was not to burden others.
Silence does not constitute admission
Buddy, I recommend that you not respond to all the lies and defamation against yourself, even if according to Jewish law you are entitled to.
Sefer HaChinuch explains that the prohibition against insulting someone applies if you attack him with insults and invectives just like that, but if someone is attacked, he is allowed to respond, both in order to defend himself and because he is not required to be mute like stone (Mitzvah 338). Yet I recommend that you place yourself amongst those who “are insulted without insulting in return, who hear ridicule without responding… Of them Scripture states, ‘Those that love Him are like the sun at its height’ (Judges 5:31).”
Question: Is it acceptance to eat food under the kosher certification of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel or should I only eat from Badatz (the certification of the Ultra-Orthodox community)?
Answer: Quite simply, all kosher certification is acceptable, whether it is Mehadrin, Badatz, or the Chief Rabbinate. Any product with any kosher certification is presumed to be acceptable until proven otherwise. We rely on the principle of “chazakah – presumption” based on the Gemara in Niddah (15b) that a Torah scholar “does not allow food to leave his domain without its kashrut being ensured.” Sometimes there are differences of opinion, but one needs to prove that something is not kosher. It is true that sometimes there are people who are deceptive. There is a list which is constantly updated on the website of the Kashrut Department of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. There is, however, a general principle: We must not doubt the kosher certification of Rabbis. It does not matter which Rabbi who gives certification – whether it a Rabbi with a knit-kippah or with a velvet kippah. If we say that it is not kosher, we are saying that this Rabbi is a sinner. He is feeding non-kosher food to the Jewish People! This is a serious accusation. This thought itself is the height of non-kosher thinking. Why would he do this? What is his motivation? He wants to make money? In order to make money he is willing to feed non-kosher food to people?! Making such an accusation against a Torah scholar is a serious transgression. One must be very careful about acting this way.
A young person once called me: “Is this product kosher or not?”
I said: “I don’t know. What is written on it?”
He said: “There is a kosher certification.”
“If there is kosher certification it is acceptable.”
He asked: “Is it acceptable to rely on the kosher certification of this Rabbi?”
I asked: “Why not?”
He said: “I asked Harav Na’im Eliyahu (brother of Harav Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel) if it is acceptable to rely of this Rabbi.”
“What did he tell you?”
“He said that it is acceptable to rely of this Rabbi.”
“Then why are you calling me?”
“Can I rely on Ha-Rav Na’im Eliyahu?”
I said: “If I tell you that you can rely on him, you will have to call someone else to ask if you can rely on me.”
“You are right,” he said. “I didn’t think about that.”
This is an impossible situation. All kosher certifications of all Rabbis are therefore acceptable until proven otherwise. I am obviously only referring to Orthodox Rabbis who are particular about the laws of Kashrut.
Question: Nonetheless, perhaps I should be strict and only eat food with the kosher certification of the Ultra-Orthodox?
Answer: May a blessing come to anyone who is strict. The Talmud Yerushalmi quoted by the Tosafot in Avodah Zarah (36a) says, however, that one of the conditions of one who is strict is that he does not shame other people and, all the more so, a Torah scholar. The Yerushalmi relates a story that a Rabbi once came from Babylonia to Israel. He was strict not to eat a particular type of fat of an animal. The Rabbis of Israel ate it, and he said that he does not eat it. They told him: “You are going to eat it or we will declare you a “zaken mamre – a rebellious elder.” This was just an expression since there was no Sanhedrin at the time to make such a declaration. Someone who wants to be strict can be strict about whatever he wants, not necessarily relating to the laws of kashrut. He can be strict about the laws of tzitzit or Shabbat or lashon ha-ra (evil speech) or the Land of Israel or loving other people. Each person can choose to be strict about whatever he wants, but a person must also know where he stands. The Book “Mesillat Yesharim” discusses being strict in “Sha’ar Ha-Perishut – The Gate of Abstinence”: A. To separate from any pleasure which in unnecessary in life. B. To act strictly regarding everything in the world. C. To dedicate all of one’s time to divine service. I do not know if we are at this level. I am not at this level. A person who wants can be strict, but he must remember the “Vidu’i” (confession) of Rav Nissim Gaon: “For that which you were strict, we were lenient; for that which you were lenient, we where strict.” You were strict in the laws of kashrut, but lenient in the laws of lashon ha-ra. If you want to be strict, you can be strict, but I say that it is more important to be strict in honoring Torah scholars.
There is a story about this concept in Mishnah Berachot at the end of the first chapter. There is a dispute regarding what is the proper position for reciting the Shema. Beit Hillel says that at night one may recite the Shema in any position he wishes: Standing, sitting, reclining, etc…, but Beit Shammai says that one must recite the night-time Shema while reclining since the Torah states “when you lie down.” Beit Hillel explains that this is not the meaning of “when you lie down,” rather it refers to the time of lying down, i.e. night-time. The Mishnah relates that Rabbi Tarfon once acted strictly like the position of Beit Shammai and recited the night-time Shema while lying down, bandits came and almost killed him. He told this to the other Rabbis and they said to him, “If they would have killed you, you would have deserved it because you violated the opinion of Beit Hillel.” A question: Rabbi Tarfon did not violate the opinion of Beit Hillel, since it did not matter to Beit Hillel in which position he recites it. One can recite it sitting, standing, reclining, etc… If Rabbi Tarfon recited the Shema while reclining, how does he violate the opinion of Beit Hillel? The Book “Mesillat Yesharim” (chapter 20 – The chapter on balancing piety) explains that this issue was a major dispute between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, and the halachah was finally decided in accordance with Beit Hillel. A great person – Rabbi Tarfon – got up and publicly ruled like Beit Shammai which impinged upon the authority of Beit Hillel. People were saying, “Beit Hillel is lenient in this matter.” The damage which he caused by acting this way was greater than the value of reciting the Shema according to Beit Shammai. Therefore, if someone ways to be strict in a matter, it is better to be strict in honoring Torah scholars than in questioning the validity of a kashrut certification.
One time the “eruv” in Tiveria was damaged. The Rav of Tiveria ruled that the “eruv” was kosher. There was a great Torah scholar who lived there and he bumped into the Rav of the city after Shabbat. They talked, the Torah scholar walked him home and they sat and chatted. The Torah scholar said, “Let’s learn some Torah.” The Rav of the city obviously agreed. The Torah scholar took Massechet Eruvim and they learned. Suddenly, the Rav of the city said, “Oy va-voy! If so, I ruled incorrectly today!” The Torah scholar said, “It appears so.” The Rav of the city asked, “Did his honor announce in his shul not to carry on Shabbat?” “No,” he responded, “since carrying in this place is a rabbinic prohibition, but honoring a Torah scholar is a Torah mitzvah. I therefore did not say anything.” If we say that the kosher certifications which Rabbis provide are not acceptable, this impinges on the honor of Torah scholars. One must therefore be extremely cautious.
Special thank you to Fred Casden for editing the Ateret Yerushalayim Parshah Sheet
Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner is Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Yerushalayim. All material translated by Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig. For more Torah: RavAviner@yahoogroups.com
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.