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Multitudes Exalt the King: Chanukah and the Ideal Way to Glorify Hashem’s Name

Rabbi Moshe Schwerd

The manner that Chazal prescribe for performing a mitzvah often reveals the underlying reason for and ultimate goal of the mitzvah. So it is with the mitzvah of hadlakas ner Chanukah. Understanding how the tension is resolved between competing aspects of its performance “sheds light” not only on ner Chanukah but on the meaning and message of Chanukah itself.

 

Sinister Motives: Taking Cues from the Edicts of the Greeks

Rabbi Elysha Sandler

The Greeks exhibited a single-mindedness in their determination to eradicate the Jewish People that in some measures surpassed even that of Haman. The way they went about it, and their points of attack, can serve to highlight for us the most meaningful aspects of our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

 

Hard Pressed to Bring Forth Light

Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene

There is a widespread Jewish custom to eat oily foods on Chanukah. Favorite foods such as doughnuts and latkes recall the essential role that oil — specifically, olive oil — plays in the miraculous story of this festival. How did the humble olive come to occupy so central a place in this holiday?

 

Jewish-Owned Banks and the Frum Borrower: An Ongoing Halachic Crisis

Rabbi Daniel Osher Kleinman

Borrowing money with ribbis is prohibited by the Torah. Outside of Eretz Yisrael, though, many reason that such a situation hardly ever arises. Not so

 

Was the Queen Really Green?

Rabbi Eli Reisman

What color is your esrog? On this simple question hinges a debate originating in the Mishnah. Surprisingly, one main point centers on Esther Hamalkah

 

A New Commentary for a Changed World

Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff

Torah leaders confronting the Enlightenment were forced to develop innovative and original approaches to preserving and transmitting the mesorah. Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s groundbreaking commentary on Chumash stands out. Composed in the vernacular, Rav Hirsch’s work presents the Torah as the primary educational tool for personal growth and impresses its eternal relevance on the reader.

 

All the Right Notes: The Two Trops for the Ten Commandments

Rabbi Dov Gertler

Many people listening to the Aseres Hadibros are surprised to hear a different trop being used. But why do we have this extra set of taamim, and what is the source for the taamim as a whole? Following the trail through the sources uncovers some interesting findings.

 

Not Beyond Redemption: Bartenura on Megillas Ruth

Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene

The familiar story contained in Megillas Ruth takes on deeper allegorical meanings in this adaptation of the commentary of Rabbeinu Ovadia of Bartenura.

 

Festooning with Foliage: Minhag Yisrael or Chukos Hagoyim?

Rabbi Yehuda Spitz

Communities around the world uphold the custom at Shavuos time to adorn their shuls with greenery, in an echo of Mount Sinai’s blooming flowers at the giving of the Torah. What are the reasons underlying this minhag? And why do so many shuls not observe it? An exploration of the halachic underpinnings to this time-honored practice.

 

Alone in the Crowd: Relating to the Converts of Amon and Moav

Rabbi Moshe Hubner

The Midrash says we read Megillas Ruth on Shavuos to learn “the great reward for those who act with kindness toward others” — referring specifically to Boaz’s kindness toward the Moabite convert Ruth. Yet in light of a clear Biblical commandment not to be kind to Moabites, was Boaz’s behavior even permissible? A fascinating examination of one of this Megillah’s halachic aspects.

 

Mitzvos before Matan Torah

Yoram Bogacz

We often find in Torah sources the notion that the nation’s forefathers — Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov — observed the entire Torah, even though they lived before the Torah was given to the Jewish people at Har Sinai. This has given rise to a vast rabbinic literature that interprets and clarifies various passages in the Torah in light of this principle, and addresses what appear to be counterexamples to it. In this article, we will clarify the concept of Torah observance in the pre-Matan Torah era.

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