A halachic question that has been asked countless times over the generations, and which is still widely discussed today, is whether Kohanim are permitted to visit the graves of the… Read more »
Category: Dvar Torah
With Parashas Shekalim behind us, and with the festival of Purim ahead, we take the opportunity to discuss the laws and details of the Machatzis HaShekel obligation. Chazal underscore… Read more »
Parashas Pekudei involves a detailed inventory of the materials collected for building the Mishkan, and explains what was done with them: “These are the records of the Mishkan, the… Read more »
Parashas Terumah introduces the Mishkan and discusses its construction. As the Ramban explains, the fundamental purpose of the Mishkan, and later of the Mikdash in the Land of Israel,… Read more »
וישמע יתרו כהן מדין חתן משה את כל אשר עשה אלקים למשה ולישראל עמו And Yisro, priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moshe, heard all that God had done… Read more »
After introducing the principal halachic issues underlying the concept of arvus, in this third and final installment of the series we will discuss a number of concrete questions that… Read more »
The sefer Tochachas Mussar (Introduction) records a fascinating anecdote involving the great Maharsha. According to the tale, two business partners and close friends, one of whom had committed a grave… Read more »
In pleading with Yosef on behalf of Binyamin, Yehudah, the leader of Yaakov’s sons, includes the following argument: “For your servant became a pledge for the boy unto my… Read more »
After its beginnings in Parashash Vayeitzei, the rest of Sefer Bereishis focuses on Yaakov’s family. In this week’s article we wish to discuss the relationship between two of Yaakov’s twelve… Read more »
The opening of Parashas Vayishlach speaks about the envoys Yaakov Avinu sent to his brother Eisav. Opinions differ as to whether these were human or angelic envoys, and the… Read more »
The Torah in Parashas Toldos presents Esav as a hunter: “Esav was a hunter, a man of the field” (Bereishis 25:27). This is in contrast to Yaakov, who is described… Read more »
We all know the importance of the age of thirteen for a boy and the age of twelve for a girl. These are the times when a boy or girl comes of age, and becomes responsible for his or her own actions and obligated in the mitzvos of the Torah.
Yet, although the ages are well-known, the sources that reveal their importance is less familiar. One of the sources for the significance of the age thirteen in a boy’s coming of age – in fact, the only Biblical source for the concept – is found in Parashas Vayishlach, as mentioned by Rashi (Nazir 29b) and the Ra’av (Avos 5:21).
When Shimon and Levi came assailed the city of Shechem, the pasuk states (Bereishis 34:25): “The two sons of Yaakov, Shimon and Levi, took each man his sword.” Levi was exactly thirteen years old at the time, and we thus learn that a thirteen-year-old is called a man.
In the current article we will discuss the concept of a child’s “coming of age.” What defines a child’s entering the obligation of mitzvos – age or physical maturity? Is there halachic significance to each of these independently? Are there differences between different mitzvos and halachic concepts, or is halachic maturity uniform for all matters?
Parashas Vayeitzei brings us to the story of Yaakov, the third and last of the three Avos. Specifically, it chronicles the years Yaakov spent in the house of Lavan,… Read more »
Parashas Toldos opens with one of the most renowned transactions of all time: The sale of the birthright from Eisav to Yaakov. Commentaries write at length about this sale,… Read more »
In Parashas Toldos we find Rivkah going to “seek out [the word of] Hashem” concerning the twins that agitated in her womb (Bereishis 25:22). The verse does not reveal where she went, but Rashi (based on Chazal) explains that she visited the beis midrash of Shem.
Different passages of the Midrash teach us that Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef and Yehudah all studied at different periods in the study halls of Shem and Eiver. Although Rivkah went there to receive Divine counsel, neither she, nor any other woman, is recorded as having taken part in the actual study of the renowned study hall. The field of Torah study (even before the Torah was given) was reserved for the Fathers of the nation; the Mothers were not involved in it.
In the present article we will discuss the issue of Torah study for women. Is there a prohibition against Torah study for women? Is it permitted for a woman to study Torah on her own? Is there a difference between different parts of Torah? Is there room to distinguish in this matter between past generations and our own?
If Avraham Avinu performed all the mitzvos of the Torah, why did he not circumcise himself before being instructed to do so by Hashem? One answer given to this question leads us to investigate the prohibition of injuring oneself. Is there a prohibition of self-injury? What is the nature of the prohibition, and which cases are included in it? And what is the halachic status of cosmetic) plastic) surgery, which involved causing an injury to oneself? These questions ,and more, are considered in this week’s article.
The admonitions we read in Parashas Ki Savo include the curse of blindness: “Hashem will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart” (Devarim 28:28). Even… Read more »