Aspaqlaria Blog

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Why So Many Laws of Berakhos?

When learning about berakhos, whether the halakhos or the latter third of the mesechta, I like to emphasize the following point… The vast majority of berakhos are derabbanan. So, why so many different berakhos,...

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Brisker Dialectics

I think Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik’s fascination with Neo-Kantianism was in part due to the similarity between a Kantian antinomy or neo-Kantian dialectic and the Brisker chaqira.   (Another factor was simply that neo-Kantianism...

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Shemos: From Vigilante to Lawgiver

A post on Facebook by Jeremy Phillips raised the question of why Hashem chose a vigilante to be His lawgiver. He got me thinking. Hashem even lauds Moshe’s vigilantism in the Torah when he...

Halakhah is a Floor - Not a Ceiling! 0

Toward a Torah Definition of “Ethics”

A short thought, maybe “just” a conversation starter… There is a paradoxical obligation: it is prohibited to conform in all ways only to the letter of the law. One must stay well within it...

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Reconsidering The Aruch HaShulchan

Any exploration of the Aruch HaShulchan must first consider this question: Is halacha a set of rules that we follow or the system by which we reach those rulings?

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Learning and Teaching

I The pasuq (Devarim 28:61, parashas Ki Savo) reads, if we would translate it naively (ignoring the point we’re about to see in Rashi): גַּ֤ם כׇּל־חֳלִי֙ וְכׇל־מַכָּ֔ה אֲשֶׁר֙ לֹ֣א כָת֔וּב בְּסֵ֖פֶר הַתּוֹרָ֣ה הַזֹּ֑את יַעְלֵ֤ם...

The Burial Site of Rabbi Meir 0

Midrashei Halakhah

There are two kinds of medrash (which should technically be called “midrash” to be grammatically correct). Midrashei Aggada are non-halakhic statements, those of mussar, Jewish thought, Qabbalah, and the like. The thought is usually...

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Yeru+Shalem

The first time we encounter Yerushalayim (Bereishis 14:18), it is under the rule of Malki-Tzedeq, a “kohein leKeil elyon — a priest of the most high G-d”, under the name “Shaleim”. The other half...

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The Source that a Reshus haRabbim Requires 600,000 People

The following is based on an article by Rav Mordechai Yehuah Leiv Zaks in no. 27 vol. 6 (1953) of HaPardeis. (H/T Eruv Online blog.) All of our community eiruvin rely on Rashi’s opinion...

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The King’s Highway, A Metaphor

I was wondering about something related to the attempt to travel on the Derekh haMelekh through Edom. Derekh haMelekh is the name of an actual highway of the time. But it sounds much like...