Why is it important that atonement and repentance remain outside the framework of time?And we may be like angels on the Day of Atonement, but the rest of the year, we are simply flesh and blood, so how are our sins of the year atoned for?
Although it is a very big mitzvah to lend money, some people are reluctant to do so because they know of loans that proved difficult to collect. Must you lend someone money if you are not sure it will ever be repaid? What do you do if you lent money to someone who seemed very honest and sincere, but now that it comes time to repay, he informs you that he is penniless? What may you do and what may you not do to collect your money? How can you guarantee that you get your money back?
If a court case is being tried in the secular court system in Israel (against Halacha), is there an advantage if some laws of Choshen Mishpat (section of Shulchan Aruch dealing with monetary law) are followed, or is it all-or-nothing? [Upon inquiry as to what specifically the querier was referring to, he mentioned a matter of public interest. We fielded that matter privately; publicly, we will discuss the principle.]
Is it permissible to read a book after the bedtime Shema/Hamapil? I like to read in bed before falling asleep, but I sometimes fall asleep and, if I have not said them beforehand, it is possible that I will sleep through the night without reciting them.
Color of the Inside of the Retzuot (Tefillin Straps)
Until recently, I had only seen tefillin retzuot blackened on one side, but when I went to buy tefillin for my son, the sofer suggested retzuot that are black on both sides. He says these are now common and preferable, and the price difference is modest. Which is better to buy?
I know that there is a halacha about sukka decorations being muktzeh throughout Sukkot because they are set aside for a mitzva. Does that mean I should leave them where they fell and, if so, do the halachot apply to both Shabbat/Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed?
When I have the chance to daven Maariv only close to chatzot (astronomical midnight), dilemmas arise. Sometimes I have time to either recite Kri’at Shema or Shemoneh Esrei before chatzot, but not both; which has precedence? Other times, I can daven all of Maariv before chatzot at home, but if I go to our local “minyan factory,” the minyan misses chatzot; which is better?
The heter mechira came about in the first shmitta year, 5649 (1888), after thousands of years in exile. Some opposing poskim changed their positions when they saw how urgent the situation was. Anti-Zionism caused more opposition.
In a previous article we discussed the writings of Rav Yehudah Hachassid, who prohibited or advised against many potential marriages that are otherwise perfectly acceptable according to halachah. But first some background on the chassidei Ashkenaz.
Rabbi Herzog was very unique, different, out-of-the-box, apolitical, fearless in his views and decisions while at the same time being humble, self-effacing and modest to the extreme in his personal and private life. He achieved the dignity and widespread support of all sections of the Jewish world.
People, who cannot read Hebrew at all, have no choice but to pray in the language that they can read and understand. However, anyone who can should accept the challenge of studying the prayers a bit at a time, gradually thereby developing both fluency and comprehension
When the Beis Hamikdash is rebuilt,
bimheirah beyameinu, the laws of tumah will affect us all, since we will be required
to be tahor in order to enter the Beis Hamikdash, to eat korbanos and maaser sheini,
and in order to separate challah and terumah.
Reciting Brachos in the Presence of Unpleasant Odors
Reciting Brachot, Benching and learning Torah in the Presence of Unpleasant Odors. May one wash for bread in a public restroom? Can one discuss Torah while walking through city streets where there are dumpsters or dog droppings? What if one cannot smell? and more.
I recline in an armchair in the lobby of the hotel and look over the menu. After the crazy day I've had, I deserve to relax and enjoy a good meal. Suddenly, I am menaced by a disturbing thought: Am I really permitted to enjoy myself in this world?
The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the enemies once heard Jews blowing the shofar during morning prayers. They thought it was a war cry and attacked the worshipers. Therefore, the sages instituted that the shofar be blown during the Mussaf prayers.
The road from Babylon to the Land of Israel passes through Syria, and many of the returning exiles got stuck there, beyond the Sambatyon River. Though largely unobservant, they were protected from assimilation by the observance of the Sabbath.
Some people have certain prayer customs on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur which are not accurate according to Jewish law. All the same, a person should not hastily renounce a custom which has be handed down from generation to generation.
Rav rules that “it is forbidden to say, 'How beautiful is that idolatress!'” However, the Talmud raises a difficulty: Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel “saw a heathen woman who was particularly beautiful, and exclaimed, 'How great are Thy works, O Lord!'”
We find that in his short prayer on Yom Kippur, the High Priest did not mention at all the spiritual needs of Israel, like Torah study or fear of Heaven. All that he says during his few moments inside the Holy Sanctuary is a short prayer for rain.
The holiday approached and Rosh Hashanah arrived. Rabbi Amnon of Mainz asked his relatives to bring him to the synagogue with all of his dismembered organs and to place him by the prayer leader. We can well image the atmosphere in the synagogue.
According to most authorities, women are no less obligated to pray than men. Therefore, they must pray “Amida” in the morning and the afternoon (“Shacharit” and “Mincha”). The evening Amida prayer (“Maariv”), on the other hand, is voluntary.
Many ask: How does the Torah account for scientific proofs which demonstrate that the universe has existed for billions of years? How can this be resolved with Jewish tradition which claims that the universe was created no more than 6000 years ago?
Only on the first day of Sukkot, when we fulfill the commandments of Sukkah and Lulav, do worldly matters “settle in” and take hold with the desired level of sanctity. Therefore, the fifteenth of Tishrei is the first day for reckoning transgressions.
How early may one begin praying in the morning? When is it too early to recite the Shema? When is it too late? Should mountains be taken into account when calculating the sunrise? Rabbi Eliezer Melamed addresses these and other pertinent issues.
We have the custom to blow the shofar throughout the month of Elul as a preparation for Rosh HaShanah. The shofar comes to wake us up but also to gather us together in order that we can return to God together.
Did Jews fast over the destruction of the First Temple when the Second Temple stood? Must pregnant and nursing women abstain from eating and drinking on minor fasts? Rabbi Eliezer Melamed addresses these and other important questions.
One who completes the Days of Awe as he should has certainly merited coming closer to the Almighty. And even if he was judged unfavorably above, this too is for the best, for it serves to rectify him and prepare him for life in the World to Come.
How many hours a day should a person study? What is the goal in studying Torah, understanding or remembering? What does it take to become a Torah scholar? Rabbi Eliezer Melamed provides answers to these and other interesting questions.
Jerusalem’s eminence stems from its being the city of the Holy Temple, the home of the kingdom of Israel, and the Torah center of the world. In liberating Jerusalem we merited advancing toward the full revelation of the greatness of the Holy City.
What conditions must be fulfilled in order for the roof of a Succah to be Kosher? Is one permitted to sleep in a bunkbed in the Succah? Is there a problem wearing a large hat in the Succah? Rabbi Eliezer Melamed addresses these and other questions in his lucid and distinct style.
Elul is the month of repentance. With the end of the year fast approaching, the time to make a personal accounting has arrived. It is time to cast off all those bad habits that we have become accustomed to over the course of the year and to make a new start.
1. The Quality of "Zehirut" - that Man Contemplate His Actions
Part One of "Pathways in Personality Development"
When man lacks awareness of his behavior, he is like a blind man walking on the edge of the river, whose danger is no doubt great and whose demise is certainly closer than his deliverance.