Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Divrei Torah

R' Jachter: May We Conduct a Get Via Video-Conference?

An Issue Raised in 1990 and 2020

Many halachic issues have been raised during the current crisis. In one highly sensitive situation that faced our Beit Din (the Israeli Rabbinate recognized Beth Din of Elizabeth), a request was made for the husband to appoint a scribe, witnesses and agent via videoconferencing.

I responded that I raised the


A Purifying Process

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a good friend with a long-time employee who left my friend’s family business, taking all the customers with him. It was devastating, but my friend stayed amazingly calm. After Shabbos, he wrote me a post-script, listing a few corrections and wonderful insights.

“For the


Where Am I?

“And the people saw that Moshe tarried in coming down from the mountain. And they gathered around Aaron and said to him: ‘Arise, and make for us a god, which will go before us, for this man Moshe who took us up from the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him.” (Shemot 32:1)

The entire


Bearing Greatness

Einstein posited, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” In this parsha we find an anomaly to Einstein’s aphorism. Indeed, in Ki Tisa, every Jew was counted through the permissible means of taking a machatzis hashekel, and every Jew counts. The reason for the anomaly relates to the


Purim: The Restoration

The Purim miracle was a “milestone moment” in Jewish history, as a nation, faced with almost certain annihilation, was rescued by Divine intervention. Unlike the Exodus from Egypt, the Purim experience unfolded without overt Divine involvement. It reminded us that God always manages history—sometimes in a manifest fashion while other


Let’s Make Some Noise

The Torah commands us to erase the memory of Amalek. The nation of Amalek did not fight the Israelites in a conventional manner. Normally, when countries go to war, they have their professional soldiers fight each other. They do not act dishonorably and exclusively target unarmed civilian populations. Amalek was different. Amalek


Exploring Purim in Today’s World

Purim is a unique and confusing chag in several aspects. First, why is a joyous holiday named after such a dangerous and scary event like the lots Haman cast rather than a reference to the Jews’ ultimate victory? By the end of the story, the casting of lots isn’t even a central element of the story. Another strikingly unique element of


The Missing Moshe

“Now, if You would, please forgive their sin. If not, You can blot me out from the book that You have written.” (Shemot 32:32)

Moshe’s name is not mentioned explicitly in Parshat Tetzaveh. He is referred to only with the pronoun “you.” After the sin of the Golden Calf, when the Jewish people


Pants and Belts

Rav Avraham Yitzc­hak haKohen Kook (Ein Ayah, Shabbat 21a):

Certain materials, such as wool, may not be used as wicks for Sabbath lights because they don’t hold a steady flame. Ordinarily, these wicks may not be used in the Temple either. However, at the Simchat Beit HaShoeva on Sukkot, the worn-out


Lessons of Togetherness

When I was growing up in Monsey, I went into our garage one day and saw a mountain of empty soda cans and bottles. I asked my mother, “Where did this come from?” She replied, “There’s someone in town who’s never been to Eretz Yisrael and doesn’t have the money to purchase a plane ticket. He’s collecting cans and bottles to


Some Thoughts on My First Gemara Siyum: Masechta Brachot

Inspired by the celebration of the Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas this past January, like many others, I joined my husband in learning a daf each day, since January 5. I was certainly unsure and doubtful of what my experience would be, and frankly, was initially not at all confident that I was up to the task. I imagined I would either find the


Knock Knock, Who’s Not There?

The me’il (robe) was one of the eight vestments that the kohen gadol wore. This robe wasn’t a simple trench coat or “frock,” but rather the Torah tells us that the hem of this particular robe was to be designed with “pomegranates of blue, purple and crimson wool, on its bottom hem all around, and golden bells in their