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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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
In addition to karet, there is another type of premature death at the hand of God known as “mita bedei shamayim.”
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two different types of vows, nedarim, mentioned in the Torah. The first, which is the subject of Tractate Nedarim, is the prohibitive vow, nidrei issur, pursuant to which a person utters a vow not to do an action, which but for the vow would have been permitted.