Nitzavim – Mutual Responsibility

One of the basic halachic principles that accompany us daily is the principle of arvus, mutual responsibility among the nation of Israel. The concept of mutual responsibility is manifest on several layers of our national life, and this week we discuss its halachic expression. What are the halachic ramifications of arvus? How does the concept of arvus influence the obligation to rebuke wrongdoers? And what about women? These, and other related issues, are discussed in this week’s article.

Opening Shop? Laws of Hasagas Gevul

This week’s article addresses the prohibition of hasagas gevul, meaning causing somebody else to lose his income. What are the parameters of the prohibition? How is it applied today? Is the halachah concerned specifically for the good of sellers, or also for the benefit of the consumer? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.

Gratitude for Surviving Danger: Laws of Birkas Ha-Gomel

This week’s article addresses the timely issue of reciting birkas ha-gomel, and focuses on the question of when the berachah should be recited. Is being saved from any dangerous situation sufficient, or are there special parameters? How have advances in the modern world of travel affected the halachah of birkas ha-gomel? Does the recovery from any illness warrant ha-gomel? These questions, and others, are discussed in this week’s article.

Parshas Re’ei – How to Begin a Letter

This week’s Parashah includes the prohibition on erasing the Name of Hashem — “You shall not do so to Hashem, your G-d.” In light of the prohibition, is it permitted to begin a letter with letters denoting the Name of Hashem? What about letters that denote “With the help of Hashem”? And what is the halachic status of the dollar bill, on which the words “In G-d we trust” appear? This week’s article deals with these questions, together with the halachic background for them.

Laws of Zimun: Who Joins and Who Leads?

In this week’s article we turn our attention to questions of “who joins?” and “who leads?” the zimun ceremony. Who should be the one chosen to perform the ceremony? Who is considered the ba’al ha-bayis, and what rights does he have in selecting the mezamen? Can women and children form part of a zimun group, and what is the halachah of women eating on their own? These questions, and more, are elucidated in this week’s article.

Parshas Vaeschanan – Preservation of the Body

During the holiday and vacation period, one of the most frequently quoted pesukim is a verse in our Parashah: “Guard yourselves very carefully.” However, aside from the timely vacation issues, there are several common questions of keeping healthy that deserve halachic analysis. The parameters of the obigation to maintain good health, and its detail, will be discussed in the present article.

Devarim – Who’s Doing the Cooking?

The issue of bishul akum is a halachic topic that often crops up in connection with institutions such as old-age homes, hotels, and so on. This week’s article presents the background to the prohibition, the various heterim that are used in operating non-Jewish staff in kosher kitchens, and other commonly asked questions concerning the prohibition.

The Joy of the Month of Adar: Why and How?

This week’s article discusses the famous statement of Chazal: “When Adar enters, we augment our joy.” Why is the month of Adar singled out from all other months in its expression of joy? What halachos does the special status of the month include, and in which way are we to express the joy of the time? These points, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.

24/02/2012

The Power of the Shofar

Although Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Ten Days of Repentence, the prayers of the day make no mention of sin, we do not recite the Thirteen Attributes of Compassion, and personal requests are few and far between. What is the nature of the day, and its unique teshuvah? Why is the entire day a Yom Teru’ah, a “Day of Sounding the Shofar,” and which inner labor does this call upon us? The article will discuss the essence of Rosh Hashanah, and strive to clarify our personal role on this great day.

The Mitzvah of Writing a Sefer Torah

This week’s article deals with the halachic issue of writing a Sefer Torah. What are the parameters of this mitzvah? Does the mitzvah apply today, and if so, why do most people not write a personal Sefer Torah? Can a Sefer Torah be written in partnership? Is there a mitzvah of writing or purchasing other sefarim? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.

Cruelty to Animals: The Prohibited and the Permitted

This week’s article discusses the prohibition of tzaar baalei chayim, causing pain and suffering to animals. What are the parameters of the prohibition? When is it permitted to cause pain to animals? Does a corresponding prohibition apply to humans? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article. This week’s Q & A discusses issues of Kerias Shema.

Ki Teitzei – Weights and Measures in Halachah

The Torah is particularly stringent with regard to matters of weights and measures, prohibiting not only the act of deception,
but even keeping false weights and measures in one’s possession. Today, there is virtually not a home in which several weights
and measures can be found, and their halachic status is not as clear as we might think. Is it permitted to keep an
inaccurate kitchen scale at home? What of bathroom scales, a baby bottle (with volume markings), or a tape measure? This
week’s article deals with these questions, and with related issues of weights and measures.

Yuhara: Laws of Arrogance

This week’s article discusses the issue of yuhara, displaying arrogance or haughtiness in the performance of mitzvos. What are the parameters of this prohibition? What categories of mitzvah performance are included, and when is there no concern of yuhara? We will seek to clarify this issue in this week’s article. This week’s Q & A discusses the question of calling up a father and son for hagbahah and gelilah.