Friday, May 20, 2022

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

Whether a Premature Child Exempts One From Yibum and Chalitzah

Yevamot 36b, 41a and 42a

Does the halacha consider a prematurely born child or a full-term child whose hair and nails are underdeveloped a legal person with rights and obligations? This question has many applications and the answer differs depending on the context in which it is


Become Holy Through Respect

Parshat Kedoshim lists many laws for us to know how one needs to act to be considered holy. One recurring theme between many of the laws is how to treat other people. We are supposed to treat others with respect and peacefulness even if they are a stranger.

During this period now of Sefirat HaOmer


Wishing You All the Best

Can one really love another Jew to the same extent as one loves oneself? While at first glance the famous words of “v’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha” brought in our parsha seem to say yes, however, the basic reading of Ramban would seem to indicate that such a concept is not practical, nor is this the meaning of this lofty charge. As


Mechayei Hameitim After a Long Separation

Question:I will soon see my son-in-law after a more than two-year corona-forced separation. We have been in frequent contact and have seen each other often on Zoom. Should I say the bracha “… mechayei hameitim” (Who brings the dead to life)?

Answer:The Gemara


Conducting Dinei Torah Via Videoconference

Part II

Last week’s discussion focused on the halachic justification for allowing ligitants to appear at a hearing remotely. If the litigants appear via video conference, is there still a need for the dayanim to sit together in person?

The Gemara


Sefiras Haomer: Recognizing Hashem’s Benevolent Oversight

This past week (25 Nisan) was the third yahrzeit of my grandmother, Mrs. Hansi Bodenheim. She had a profound impact on my life and the lives of many others, especially the thousands of students at Torah Academy of Philadelphia, where she taught and served as a librarian for almost 40 years. Students would call her weekly to wish her a good


The Second Half of Sefer Vayikra

Even though the first 17 chapters of Vayikra deal exclusively with laws that relate to the Mishkan, in Chapter 18 we find the introduction to the second half of the sefer, which includes numerous topics totally unrelated to the Mishkan.

To suggest a unifying topic for Sefer Vayikra, let’s take a


The Party Shows the Hearty

“Molech” might arguably rank as the most egregious and detestable method of avoda zara. To have one’s very own child burnt alive as an offering…anyone can understand the depth of cruelty. In response to such a horrifying form of worship, in our parsha the Torah (18:21) says, “And from your offspring you shouldn’t give to pass


The Healing Power of Tehillim

Tehillim (Psalms) are used throughout traditional Jewish worship. Many verses from Tehillim appear throughout our routine prayer. Tehillim, along with some later readings, comprise the introduction (Kabbalat Shabbat) to the Friday night service. Traditionally, a different “Shir Shel Yom” is read after the morning service each day of the


The Significance of a Spider Bite

The other day, I was handling one of the large and impressive tarantulas at the Biblical Museum of Natural History. I now have a huge and horrific spider bite on my arm.

Unfortunately there is no connection between the two (and the picture here was staged this morning); I was


Conducting Dinei Torah Via Videoconference

At the onset of the COVID pandemic following Purim 2020, the Beth Din of America ceased all in-person activities. As certain elements of the gittin process must be performed in person, we did not arrange gittin for almost three months. Around Shavuos 2020 we gradually resumed coordinating gittin, first outdoors, with masks and


The Utilitarian Case for Torah u-Madda

This article was reprinted with permission from The Lehrhaus.

It has become fashionable to say that Torah u-Madda has fallen out of fashion. In this environment, Lawrence Grossman’s recent essay title “The Rise and Fall of Torah U’Madda”[1] comes as no surprise; after all, decades

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