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Archive for October, 2013

Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland

Glenn Dynner, the author of Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society, has a new book that is available for pre-order, Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland. In nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, the Jewish-run tavern was often the center of leisure, hospitality, business, and even religious festivities. This […]

Book Review: Defining Jewish Difference

Joshua Schwartz has written a very positive review of Beth Berkowitz’s book about Hukkot ha-Goyim (“The Laws of the Nations”) and the history of the interpretation of Leviticus 18:3, Defining Jewish Difference: From Antiquity to the Present. This is an absolutely outstanding work. While the scope and extent of the material studied are amazing, the […]

Halichot Olam-Parashat Toldot

In this week’s parashah the Ben Ish Ḥai discussed the ritual washing of one’s hands in the morning. Many understand the purpose of netillat yadayim to cleanse a spiritual pollution, רוח רעה, that has settled on a person’s hands during the night. A discussion of the sources for this halakhah can be found here. A […]

Halichot Olam-Parashat Hayyei Sarah

For this week’s parashah the Ben Ish Ḥai continued his discussion about the laws of tefillin. (here) One issue that he addressed was on which hand a left-handed person should lay his tefillin. The accepted halakhah is that a person person who does everything with his left hand should lay tefillin on his right hand, […]

Affordable Access to Otzar HaChochma

Otzar HaChochma is one of those resources that many of us would love to have access to if it didn’t cost so much. I was therefore glad to read that while the Feinberg Ecollection of Spertus College will no longer be including access to the Bar-Ilan Responsa Project, it will soon add Otzar HaChochmah. Considering […]

Daf Yomi Kids Edition

At the Talmud Blog Yoel Finkelman reviews two recent publications that are centered around Daf Yomi and for children. Surprisingly – or not – two versions of daf yomi for kids have appeared in the past few years: a Hebrew version, created by religious-Zioinists in Israel that comes in several hardback volumes, and an English […]

Women of the Wall as a Fashion Inspiration

NRG is reporting (Hebrew) that the Israeli fashion house Comme il faut, which describes itself as a being founded “by women, for women,” has released a new collection of clothing that was inspired by Women of the Wall. This collection comes soon after an Islamic inspired collection that was released this Spring.  

Halichot Olam-Parashat Va-Yeirah

In Parashat Va-Yeirah the Ben Ish Ḥai discussed the laws of tefillin. Among the numerous issues that he touched upon was Tefillin of Rashi, the most common type of tefillin, and Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam. See here for an explanation of the differences between the two. I found the following statement by Rav Ovadiah interesting: […]

Video-Rabbi Benny Lau on Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef

For those who want a very good introduction to the importance of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, this recent talk by Rabbi Benny Lau is worthwhile. It is in Hebrew and HT goes to Rav Tzair.

Video-Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef After Hearing of Rabin Assasination

Below is a video of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef after he heard that Yitzhak Rabin had been shot. Rav Ovadiah had been delivering his traditional Saturday night class when he was told what happened. (HT Kikar Hashabat) Below the video is a translation of Rav Ovadiah’s reaction. Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef: What? He was seriously wounded? What?…We […]

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