Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

From Our Archives: Circumcision and Modern Technology

March 31, 2011 by  
Filed under From Our Archives, Halakha, New Posts

Laser Circumcision by J. David Bleich The Use of Anesthesia in Circumcision:  A Re-Evaluation of the Halakhic Sources by Edward Reichman and Fred Rosner Hypospadias and Circumcision by Rabbi J. David Bleich The Making of Metzitzah – 1972 by Yehuda Pesach Shields – Shlomo Brody

Parashat Tazria: Explaining Tzora’at From the Perspective of the Book of Job by Yaakov Bieler

March 30, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts

Laws of ritual purity and impurity elude logical explanations.                 Tora laws of ritual purity and impurity e.g., rules that are associated with contact with dead bodies,[1]  particular bodily excretions,[2]   and various dermatological conditions[3]  are categorized as Chukim (statutes),  i.e., laws which, at best, have rationales that are highly obscure.[4] Yet even more curious and [...]

The Brain Death Debate: A Methodological Analysis – Part 2 (Hatam Sofer)

March 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Halakha, New Posts

The Enlightenment severely altered our conception of how the body functions, so it’s not surprising that the sources that figure prominently in the debate over brain death begin to accumulate only in the early modern period.  The teshuvah of Hakham Zevi that we cited in the previous post was largely a reaction to the way [...]

Parashat Shmini – Aharon’s Reversals of Fortune and Unflagging Courage by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler

March 25, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts, Parasha

Aharon’s disappointments leading up to Parashat Shmini. Aharon, the brother of Moshe, undergoes two experiences that severely test his resolve and self-image, even before he suffers the numbing loss of his two oldest sons, Nadav and Avihu while they are engaged in offering sacrifices in the newly dedicated Mishkan (VaYikra 10:1 ff.) I. The loss [...]

The Rabbi Linzer – Agudath Israel Debate on Brain Death: Methodological Considerations by Aryeh Klapper

March 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Halakha, New Posts

 Introduction  Recently Rabbi Dov Linzer published a statement (Appendix A), cosigned by many other rabbis, on the subject of halakhah and braindeath.  Agudath Israel of America’s office subsequently issued an unsigned statement (Appendix B) that took very sharp issue with Rabbi Linzer’s statement.  I am party to neither statement, nor do I intend in this [...]

When To Speak Up, That is The Question by Gidon Rothstein

March 21, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts

I recently received a copy of Columbia magazine devoted to water issues (and, of course, how members of the Columbia University community are helping work to solve those problems).  Reading, I was reminded by a verse in Zechariah we read in the haftarah of the first day of Sukkot. In the context of describing some [...]

Parashat Tzav: The Olah Sacrifice – The Exception or the Rule? by Yaakov Bieler

March 16, 2011 by  
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Revisiting ground already covered? The beginning of Parashat Tzav (VaYikra 6:2 ff.) appears to revisit territory that has already been explored at the outset of the book of VaYikra (1:3 ff.) In both places we are told about aspects of the Olah (“the one going up” or “totally burnt”), begging the question why all of [...]

Competing Visions of the Purpose of Korbanot by Yaakov Bieler

March 12, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts

A fundamental debate regarding the purpose of sacrifices. In his commentary to VaYikra 1:9, after vehemently attacking RaMBaM’s suggestion that God Commanded the sacrifices for no other reason than to give man an outlet for his potentially idolatrous desires,[1] RaMBaN offers a hypothesis of his own. Regarding the general parameters of the sacrificial cult for [...]

Parashat Pekudei: Motivations for a Precious Metal Inventory by Yaakov Bieler

March 3, 2011 by  
Filed under New Posts

Problems with the opening verses in the Parasha. At the beginning of Parashat Pekudei (Shemot 38:24-29), the Tora provides a list of the amounts of gold, silver and copper that were contributed by the Jewish people[1] in order to construct the Tabernacle  and its holy vessels. One wonders why, if the intention was to produce [...]