Posts By: Rabbi Yehoshua Pfeffer
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.
Toward the beginning of Parashas Va-Eschanan the Torah introduces the prohibition known as bal tosif, which forbids adding onto the Torah’s laws. Moshe warns the nation: “Do not add onto… Read more »
The prohibition against leaving the Land of Israel is well known and it is based upon several sources. However, the details of the prohibition, and the circumstances in which it… Read more »
This week’s parashah is named after Pinchas, whose act of zealotry in killing Zimri and Cozbi lifted the Divine curse from upon the nation of Israel. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 82a)… Read more »
This week’s article continues to deal with the laws of warfare, this time focusing on the laws pertaining to engagement with the enemy. Among other issues, the article will discuss the obligation of suing for peace, the laws of making a siege against the enemy, and the taking of war spoils and booty. Though many a century has passed from the time the Torah laws of war were recorded, we will find that the relevant halachos are no less contemporary now than they were then.
This week’s article discusses the issue of the cherem, the halachic ban, which was almost the exclusive mode of punishment available to Jewish communities for two millennia. What is a cherem? What were the crimes generally punishable by excommunication? Who has the authority to enact a ban, and how is it released? Are there practical implications for the modern day? These questions, among others, are discussed in this first of a two-part series on the subject.
One of the prominent customs of Lag Ba’Omer is lighting bonfires – a practice throughout Israel and even beyond (see Aruch Hashulchan 493:7). The reason for bonfires on Lag Ba’Omer… Read more »
In this week’s article we turn our attention to the prohibition of consuming bugs. Which insects are forbidden for consumption, and which are permitted? What are the special stringencies involved with eating bugs? What are the defining principles of the obligation to check for bugs? Must one search for bugs under the microscope or magnifying glass? These questions and more are addressed in this week’s article.
Question: Why are women required to eat matzah on the night of Seder and say the Haggaddah? Both are mitzvas oseh she’hazman grama… And if the anser is “af hain b’oseh ha’nas”… Read more »
This week’s article discusses the timely obligation of bedikas chametz. True, there are still two weeks to go till Pesach, but even now, somebody leaving home might be obligated to check his house for chametz. What are the halachic details of this obligation? Is a blessing recited before checking? Does selling one’s chametz exempt one from the obligation? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.
This week’s article discusses the mitzvah of bedikas chametz. Does searching for chametz involve a Torah mitzvah, or a rabbinic enactment? Does one have to ensure that he possesses chametz before he begins searching for it? What is the halachah concerning checking books for crumbs? We will seek to answer these questions, and others, by elucidating the matter from its primary sources.
With the beginning of the month of Nissan, we turn our attention to a timely halachah: the giving of kimcha de’pischa, or maos chittin. Many of us have heard the… Read more »
One of the sacrifices detailed in Parashas Vayikrais known as the Korban Oleh Ve-Yored, which means an offering that “rises and falls.” This offering brought by a person, wishing to… Read more »
This week’s article focuses on the principle whereby one must coerce his fellow Jew to perform mitzvos—a principle mentioned in connection with korbanos at the beginning of Vayikra. When, how, and to what extent must we enforce the performance of mitzvos? Does the obligation of coercion fall on beis din alone, or even on individuals? What value does a coerced mitzvah possess? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.
This week’s Parashah, Parashas Ki Tisa, includes the instruction of not eating meat and dairy products together.
The Torah itself mentions only the words, “You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.” Based on the threefold repetition of this instruction, Chazal understand that three distinct prohibitions are included: cooking, consuming, and benefiting from a combination of meat and milk.
Furthermore, it is rabbinically forbidden to eat meat and milk together, even if they were not cooked together.
Beyond this, Chazal also note an obligation to wait between eating meat and dairy products.
In the present article we will discuss the obligation to wait between eating meat and dairy products. How long does one have to wait? Is there an obligation to wait even after merely tasting meat? Do even children and sick people have to wait? What is the halachah in cases of doubt?
These questions, and others, are discussed below.
The verse in Parashas Ki Tisa states: “Hashem said to Moshe: Write these words down for yourself, since it is through these words that I have made a covenant with… Read more »
This week’s parashah deals with the inception of Kohanim for the priestly service, and with the special clothes that their service requires. Today, although we no longer have the Temple service (may it speedily return!), there remain a number of halachic duties and laws that pertain to the caste of Kohanim. In this week’s article we will discuss the status of present-day Kohanim with regard to these halachic ramifications. Are today’s Kohanim certified, “definite” Kohanim, or not? What is their status with regard to eating challah, to Pidyon Haben, to giving the Priestly Blessing, and so on? Must we give them special honors, as befitting the Kehunah? The answers to these questions, and more, are found in this week’s article.