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A Practical Guide to Paying a Shiva Visit
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When visiting a shiva house, callers usually just walk in, or enter after a quiet knock on the door to alert the residents to their presence. The callers are not guests; they are not greeted and ushered in, nor are they offered food or drink. The mourners do not rise to greet them. Callers may […]
Tzarich Iyun: Ga’al Yisrael
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Misconception:The modern-day practice of some shelichei tzibbur—communal prayer leaders—of ending the berachah of Ga’al Yisrael in a whisper is a requirement and has been around for generations. Fact: The practice of ending Ga’al Yisrael silently seems to have originated relatively recently. Prior to modern times, the shaliach tzibbur (sha”tz) would recite the entire berachah of […]
When Unable to Make a Shiva Visit
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When a person is unable to perform the mitzvah of nichum aveilim in person, he may call and comfort the mourners by phone. This is not the preferred method because doing so only fulfills part of the mitzvah – it serves as a comfort for the mourner but not for the deceased. Nevertheless, if one […]
3.11 – An Illustrative Parable
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Chovos HaLevavos, Shaar HaAvodah chapter 9  ************************************ To illustrate the dynamic between predestination on one hand and reward and punishment on the other, the Chovos HaLevavos presents a parable: Imagine an island with a very unusual law: each year they would appoint a stranger to serve as their ruler. At the end of the year, the […]