May 28, 2024
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May 28, 2024
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TABC Delves Into ‘Halacha 24/7/12’

Dozens of students at TABC were clamoring to enhance and upgrade their level of halachic observance. Thinking about what could complement what the students are already learning, veteran TABC rebbeim Rabbi Chaim Jachter and Rabbi Yoni Mandelstam explored a variety of options and then hit on gold—Rabbi Ari Marcus’s magnificent halachic compendium entitled “Halacha 24/7/12.”

This book is the perfect halacha work for Modern Orthodox men. As Rabbi Marcus writes in his introduction, he presents halacha authentically, meaning not watered down to questionable leniency on one hand and not presenting stringencies as normative halacha on the other. Rabbi Marcus’ presentation makes it abundantly clear that full halachic observance is within reasonable reach of all Jews.

Moreover, the book is spot on in terms of addressing the most important questions Jewish young men face in their lives. This book, a product of over 20 years of teaching shana alef talmidim at Yeshivat Reishit in Israel, addresses hundreds of the typical questions and issues that young Jewish men encounter. In addition, Rabbi Marcus is blessed with a knack for identifying halachic fine points regarding which mistakes are common. For example, he notes that when tapping the heart when reciting the bracha of “Selach Lanu” during the weekday amidah, we should tap at the words “chatanu” and “fashanu” and not at other points of this bracha.

The writing is concise and crisp making it a pleasure to learn. It succeeds in its stated goal of adopting a serious yet not a heavy tone. There is some explanation for halachot allowing for understanding and making the halachot easier to remember. The book is actually a very compelling read—students report that they could not put it down and are eager to reread it again and again. It has a charisma and magnetism that makes the reader thirsting for more.

The book has caught on like wildfire at TABC with over 70 students so far joining the voluntary learning. Alumni, rebbeim and teachers have also been invited and over 40 of them have already joined. Rabbi Yoni Mandelstam sets the pace of the learning and even makes online quizzes to test the mastery of the topics. On a daily basis, Rabbi Jachter records one to two minute summaries of some highlights of the learning, broadcasted on the Halacha 24/7/12 WhatsApp group. Of course, as in every Torah work, there is some room to quibble about the details and Rabbi Jachter does not shy away from sharing some alternate views on occasion. Rabbi Adler and Rabbi Mandelstam also chime in with some brief insights and slight disagreements.

The students and alumni report that they enjoy listening to the brief halacha talks. Alumnus Yitzy Rothschild, for example, reports that whenever he has a break from his work in Tzahal, he is thrilled to listen to the brief halacha discussions from his TABC rebbeim. Other alumni, such as Yonatan Berner, report that the book is life changing and life enhancing. The feeling of proper and precise observance of the halacha is empowering and deeply satisfying.

It is very difficult to find a succinct yet broad presentation of halacha that addresses contemporary issues and is appropriate to the temperament of our community. Until we came across this book, we struggled to find the sefer that would satisfy our talmidim. “Halacha 24/7/12” answers the call and fills the void. What was previously a relatively well-kept secret among alumni of Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim is now gaining in popularity and even changing the landscape of our community. TABC is proud to be on the forefront of this very positive trend.

A few caveats about this wonderful book. While women can gain much from learning “Halacha 24/7/12,” it tends to be male focused. For example, at the beginning of the book Rabbi Marcus notes that modeh ani may be said even if one is not wearing his kippah. We eagerly await an edition that is geared a bit more for women.

In addition, while the book does present many Sephardic practices, Sephardic halacha is not accorded equal airtime. For example, Rabbi Marcus notes that the correct pronunciation of the word שאתה, which appears fairly frequently in the siddur, is sha’atah and not she’atah as it is commonly mispronounced. However, in Rav Ovadia Yosef’s Sephardic siddurim, the word is actually written she’atah, in contradistinction to the Ashkenazic ones which state sha’atah. Rabbi Jachter, in his daily minute broadcasts, tries to bridge this gap and presents the Sephardic side when it is missing from “Halacha 24/7/12.”

Despite these concerns, Halacha 24/7/12 constitutes a tour de force of contemporary halacha education. It is a book whose time has arrived. We at TABC look forward to widening the circle and continuing to enhance the spiritual lives of our current Talmidim and alumni who join us in the quest for forging a closer bond with Hashem by being cognizant of how to properly relate to Him 24/7/12. Any magnificent relationship involves 24/7/12 devotion. Our relationship with Hashem deserves nothing less.

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