Category: Machashavah

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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...

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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?

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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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...

Path To Happiness 0

Simchas Purim

Let’s just look at Ben Zoma (Avos 4:1): אֵיזֶהוּ עָשִׁיר? הַשָּׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ. Who is wealthy? Someone who is sameiach, happy, with their lot.   Ben Zoma isn’t arguing for complacency. Look at his prooftext: שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:...

When a Paradox is not a Disproof 0

When a Paradox is not a Disproof

The GPS is an amazing thing. The chips in it work because of the physics of semiconductors, and the fact that the energy the electrons can absorb or emit come in fixed quantities. All...

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Zos Chanukah

Rashi writes on Bamidbar 30:2: “Zeh haDavar — This is the Idea“: Moshe gave nevu’ah with “Koh amar Hashem — Like this said Hashem, ‘Like in the middle of the night’” (Shemos 11, about...

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Aseres Yemei Teshuvah Reader

There is a new, slightly enlarged, version of my reader for Aseres Yemei Tehuvah for 5781, suitable for putting that wandering mind to work while in shul. Contents: Spiritual Planning………………………………………………………… 1 9/11 and How...

Mysticism and Rationalism 0

Mysticism and Rationalism

A lot has been said on-line about Mystical (e.g. Qabbalah) and Rationalist (e.g. the Rambam) approaches to Judaism. In this post, I aspire to propose clear definitions of these terms. Because much of the...