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Preempting The Death Penalty

29 Tammuz 5772 – July 18, 2012
In this week’s parshah the Torah writes about a prohibition on killing a murderer prior to his trial. As the pasuk says: “…v’lo yamus harotzeach ad amdo lifnei haeidah lamishpat – … so that the murderer will not die until he stands before the assembly for judgment” (Bamidbar 35:12). The same rule applies to anyone who commits an aveirah that is punishable by death; no one is permitted to kill him prior to his trial in beis din, including the witnesses that warned him and witnessed the aveirah. The Sefer Hachinuch (mitzvah 409) writes that if one kills a transgressor prior to his trial, he is regarded as a murderer.

Overcharging

25 Iyyar 5772 – May 16, 2012
In Behar, one of this week’s parshiyos, the Torah commands us in regard to some of the laws of buying and selling. The pasuk says, “Vechi simkiru mimkar la’amisecha … al tonu ish es achiv – When you make a sale to your fellow … do not afflict one another.” The Gemara in Baba Metzia 51a derives from this pasuk that one may not overcharge when selling an item without informing the buyer. This is referred to as ona’ah. The Gemara says that if one charges more than a sixth more than the market value of an item, the sale is void. If one charges less than a sixth more, the sale is valid. If one charges exactly a sixth more, the sale is valid; however, the seller must return the overcharge.

My Machberes

17 Iyyar 5772 – May 9, 2012
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Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part I)

28 Heshvan 5772 – November 24, 2011
Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

Emphasizing Honesty And Integrity During The Days Of Awe

29 Elul 5770 – September 7, 2010
Have you ever wondered why Avraham was the first patriarch of the Jewish people? Probably not; the reason is so obvious. We have grown up hearing the stories of the young boy Avram, who questioned the irrational idolatry of his time. We have followed him on his journey of discovery; how he investigated nature, science, each mode of worship - and logically arrived at the conclusion that there has to be One Omnipotent Creator responsible for our existence.

A Shoe, Handkerchief, and Pen

25 Sivan 5769 – June 17, 2009
What do a shoe, handkerchief, and pen have in common? For English buffs, they all contain an "e." Let's try in Hebrew: What do na'al, sudar, andeit have in common? They all begin in alphabetical order: Nun, Samach, and Ayin. OK, but better.... in Choshen Mishpat, these are the classic items for "Kinyan Chalipin." Let's try in Hebrew: What do na'al, sudar, andeit have in common? They all begin in alphabetical order: Nun, Samach, and Ayin. OK, but better.... in Choshen Mishpat, these are the classic items for "Kinyan Chalipin."

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