Partnership Minyanim

Another Look at Partnership Minyanim Rabbi Dr. Alan Kimche The Partnership Minyan permits women to lead parts of the tefilla service, to read from the Torah, to carry it and to get an Aliyah. The women who attend are often uplifted by the experience. All this, and it’s still Orthodox! Is this possibly one of...

Let’s be Honest about Limmud

LET’S BE HONEST ABOUT LIMMUD Rabbi Dr. Alan Kimche By all accounts Limmud is an amazing experience. It’s a residential learning experience for over 2000 participants enjoying a week in the winter which is warm and friendly, interesting and engaging, non-judgemental, open minded, feel-good and politically-correct, -it’s clearly all this and more. But there’s one...

Honorific Titles in Tefillah

I was asked the following question: It is part of the mitzvah of bikkur cholim to daven for the recovery and well being of a sick person and therefore it becomes important to know how to refer in prayer to the individual for whom one is praying. What if the person concerned is a rabbinic...

Three Steps Forward

The three small steps taken before every Shemona Esrei (Shulchan Aruch. O.C.95.1 Rema) contain some inspiring thoughts designed to put us in a unique state of mind, and direct the way in which we start to engage in prayer itself. Unlike the three steps on finishing a tefilla, those at the start have no source...

Kedoshim Tiheyu

In general the LAWS OF THE TORAH are given with all the details of the halachic system, but occasionally the Torah presents us with an insight into the goal or general purpose to which the entire halachic code is aimed. Do we have a ‘big picture’ answer to the question of what is the overall...

Sefirat Ha’Omer

Sefirat Ha-Omer The process of counting days from Pesach to Shavuot has profound significance in Jewish thought. This finds its expression in the pasuk from Tehillim 90.12 which reads: למנות ימינו כן הודע ונביא לבב חכמה “teach us to count our days and it will bring us a heart of wisdom”. What is the nature...

Parshat Bamidbar

A most interesting and profound principle in understanding the essence of Torah learning is hidden away in a Rashi in Parshat Bamidbar. The verse (3.16) simply states that Moshe counted the Levi’im as instructed. In a parsha dealing with a census of the entire nation this in itself is not exceptional. However, there was a...

Empty vessels / full vessels.

Empty Vessels – Full Vessels An exercise in deciphering Talmudic metaphors. Three interpretations. Talmud Bavli Sukkah(46a) also Brachot (40a). תלמוד בבלי מסכת סוכה דף מו עמוד א ואמר רבי זירא ואיתימא רבי חנינא בר פפא: בא וראה שלא כמדת הקדוש ברוך הוא מדת בשר ודם; מדת בשר ודם, כלי ריקן מחזיק, מלא אינו מחזיק, אבל...

Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai

Lag b’omer 5771 – some reflections on the profound contribution of R.Shimeon bar Yochai to the understanding of Torah Judaism. He is primarily known in his role as the father of the mystical kabbalistic tradition in Judaism, however R.Shimeon was also known as one of the most prominent Tannaim, authors of the mishna, and a...

Dishwashers on Shabbat

Switching on a dishwashers on Shabbat involves the issur melacha of both ‘havarah’ -creating a fire, and ‘bishul’ – cooking the water. The first question which raises interesting issues is the use of a time switch which is set before Shabbat that will operate it on Shabbat. what are the halachic issues involved in this? Firstly there is...