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The Time For Lighting Candles

2 Heshvan 5773 – October 17, 2012
Shabbat candles must be lit by (and preferably 18 minutes before) sunset. Once it is twilight, the time between sunset and nightfall known as bein hashmashot, it is too late to light. Bein hashmashot begins when the sun sets below the horizon and is no longer visible.

Yom Kippur

11 Tishri 5773 – September 27, 2012
Even Moses, who spoke with God one on One, was not allowed to see Him during his lifetime. “You cannot see my face, for no man shall see me and live.”

Two Days Rosh Hashanah, Eruvin And Eggs

27 Elul 5772 – September 13, 2012
Why is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, so different from other Jewish holidays? On the face of it, it does not seem to follow any pattern. It is celebrated for two days, not only in the Diaspora but also in Israel. Yet the Sages refer to the two days of Rosh Hashanah as one long day – yoma arichta.

Selichot

19 Elul 5772 – September 5, 2012
However remote the prospect of acquittal, a Jew must never give up. God commands us to challenge indictment with prayer. And the rabbis urge us to confront sentencing with hunger strikes. And so, the Midrash tells us, when Moses stood before God, at a loss for words with which to defend the sin of the golden calf, God Himself donned a tallit, took to the prayer stand, and showed Moses how to pray and what to say:

Prime Time Prayer

30 Av 5772 – August 17, 2012
Prayer is always an avenue to God. But in the month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish year, and during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, God lends a particularly sympathetic ear.

The Proper Times For Reciting Shema

14 Av 5772 – August 1, 2012
There is a fundamental difference between the times set for reciting the Shema and all other prayers. Whereas our sages linked the times for prayers to the times of the Temple sacrifices, the time for reciting Shema is fixed by the Torah itself – “beshochbechah uvekumechah” – when you lie down and when you get up.

‘And From Zion The Torah Will Go Forth’: Rabbi Yosef Sholom...

6 Av 5772 – July 25, 2012
The New York Times once asked Rabbi Moshe Feinstein how he became a posek hador, one of the generation’s foremost authorities on Jewish law. Rabbi Feinstein answered that, “people came and asked me questions and they liked what I said and it was accepted, and then more people came and eventually I became widely accepted as a posek.”

The Three Weeks And The Nine Days

16 Tammuz 5772 – July 5, 2012
One does not have to be superstitious to recognize facts. It is a historical fact that the period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Tenth of Av was plagued by recurring tragedies.

Wakeup Call (Part II)

3 Sivan 5772 – May 23, 2012
The korban tamid was offered up every morning and every afternoon, including Shabbat. The korbanot tamid served as the bookends for all the other korbanot that were brought during the day. No other offering could be brought before the korban tamid of the morning or after the korban tamid of the afternoon.

Wakeup Call (Midot 1:9)

18 Iyyar 5772 – May 10, 2012
At about 4 a.m. on cold and damp autumn mornings in London, Dad would try to wake us in time for Selichot, the pre-Jewish New Year dawn prayers. As we heard Dad’s footsteps mounting the stairs, my brother and I would hide under our covers and mutter our displeasure at being disturbed.

Birthday Parties (Part II) (Keritut 2a, Shabbat 25a, Yevamot 2a and...

27 Nisan 5772 – April 18, 2012
In addition to karet, there is another type of premature death at the hand of God known as “mita bedei shamayim.”

Birthday Parties (Keritut 2a; Shabbat 25a; Moed Katan 28a; Ta’anit...

21 Nisan 5772 – April 12, 2012
Each morning at about 7:10 a.m. my mother, still in her housecoat and slippers, would wake me for school. One wintry Monday morning I opened my eyes to see her leaning over my bed. She was in hat and coat and her hands were cold from the weather outside.

Chametz Credit Card

14 Nisan 5772 – April 5, 2012
It's 1 p.m. on Friday, Erev Pesach. The rabbi had already sold the chametz at 10 a.m. But I forgot to sell mine. Now the synagogue office is closed and I can't get hold of the form the rabbi uses to sell the chametz. The Torah requires me to remove all chametz from my house on Pesach. But I just cannot bring myself to throw out that Glenfiddich. Is there a way the whisky can remain in my house during Pesach, and would I be able to drink it after Pesach?

Who’s Watching Anyway? (Me’ilah 2b, 9a)

29 Adar 5772 – March 22, 2012
If you pay only $5 or if you creep back, retrieve your $10 bill and make off with the money and the flowers. Doing that would be a breach of trust.

OU and RCA Call for Prayer and Words of Inspiration in...

28 Adar 5772 – March 21, 2012
The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America urge their member synagogues and member rabbis to respond to this time of formidable challenge for Jews around the world with programs of tefilla and divrei hitorerut, prayer and words of inspiration, in a manner appropriate to the severity of the situation.

More On Temurah (Temurah 2,3 and 9)

21 Adar 5772 – March 14, 2012
The act of temurah, consecrating another animal in place of an already consecrated animal, incurs the punishment of malkot - lashes. This is somewhat surprising. There is a halachic rule that a prohibition that does not involve an overt act does not incur the punishment of malkot – “lav she’einbBo ma’aseh, ein lokin alav.” Why then does a person incur malkot?

No Landlords (Part II)

30 Shevat 5772 – February 22, 2012
Batei arei chomah are structures (of at least six to eight square feet) in towns consisting of at least three courtyards with two buildings each, with a predominantly Jewish population – provided that such towns were surrounded by a wall in the time of Joshua even though they may no longer be surrounded by a wall at the time of the sale or buyback.

No Landlords (Arachin 29b)

16 Shevat 5772 – February 8, 2012
After its conquest by Joshua, the land of Israel was divided into twelve equal parts in accordance with the number of the tribes of Israel. Each male member of each tribe that actually left Egypt was entitled to a piece of land equal in size to the total size allocated to his whole tribe divided by the number of men of twenty or over in his tribe that left Egypt.

Killing Me Softly (Arachin 15b, 16a; Zevachim 88a)

10 Shevat 5772 – February 2, 2012
A person’s reputation precedes him. A bad reputation prejudices any chance of a successful encounter. Damaging a person’s reputation is tantamount to booby-trapping human relations before they can blossom into happy relationships.

Not For The Birds: A Week Of Halachic Learning At Princeton

9 Shevat 5772 – February 1, 2012
Some college students use their winter break between terms to relax, fly to warm climates and in general recover from the academic burdens of the fall semester. Others study how to slaughter chickens according to kosher law.

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