Torah Corner


Hilchos Tisha B'av 5774 - By Rabbi Krakowski

Hilchos Tisha B'av 5774 - By Rabbi Krakowski
The following is meant as a convenient review of Halachos pertaining to Tisha BeAv. The Piskei Din for the most part are based purely on the Sugyos, Shulchan Aruch and Ramah, and the Mishna Berura, unless stated otherwise. They are based on my understanding of the aforementioned texts through the teachings of my Rebeim. As individual circumstances are often important in determining the psak in specific cases, and as there may be different approaches to some of the issues, one should always ...
(Add your opinion  |   August 04 )

How to be Maavir Sidrah This Week

How to be Maavir Sidrah This Week
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] As many people who have looked at Parshas Pinchas this week realize, there is a paragraph mark (called a psucha) in the middle of a Pasuk right before the census (BaMidbar 26:1). “And it was after the plague                     and Hashem said to Moshe etc.” How should this be handled with respect to the weekly Mitzvah of reviewing the Sidrah? The truth is that this happens three times a year, in Parshas VaYishlach, “And the sons of ...
(3 opinions  |   July 09 )

Parshas Balak - Overview And Life Lessons

Parshas Balak - Overview And Life Lessons
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] This Parsha sheet was written l’ilui nishmas the murdered Yeshiva students: Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah, Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim and Eyal ben Iris Teshurah. It can be downloaded as well. First Aliyah – Moav is frightened of Klal Yisroel.  Balak, king of Moav sends messengers to Bilaam to curse them.  Bilaam tells the messengers to spend the night.  Hashem asks who they are, and then tells him not to curse Klal Yisroel. Why didn’t Balak seek to ...
(Add your opinion  |   July 04 )

Life Lessons and Parsha Overview - Chukas

Life Lessons and Parsha Overview - Chukas
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] As a z'chus of Limmud HaTorah for the three kidnapped Yeshiva students, Yeshiva World News and 5TJT have launched a special parsha sheet that includes an overview of each week's parsha as well as life lessons culled from the Gedolei HaMeforshim on each week's Sidrah. It may be downloaded as pdf and can be read at the Shabbos meals. May Hashem send us nechamos bimheira b'yameinu, Amain. This Sidrah has ten Parshios.  Instructions given regarding the Parah Adumah – ...
(Add your opinion  |   June 27 )

Halachic Analysis: The Shalom Zachar

Halachic Analysis: The Shalom Zachar
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] Written in honor of the birth of the author’s new grandson whose Shalom Zachor is to be held this evening. It is an Ashkenazic custom to arrange a Shalom Zachar on the first Shabbos after a male child is born.  The Ramah YD 265:12 writes that we visit where the baby is staying in order to taste something and it is also considered a Seudas Mitzvah.  The following is an overview of the Shalom Zachar, including the reasons for it, why it is called Shalom Zachar and ...
(9 opinions  |   June 06 )

A Message from the Kalever Rebbe for Shavuos 5774 [Torah - Our Essential Identity]

A Message from the Kalever Rebbe for Shavuos 5774 [Torah - Our Essential Identity]
3,326 years ago, our ancestors stood arrayed around Mount Sinai breathlessly awaiting the very voice of God. Amidst thunder and lightning the word went forth as Hashem introduced Himself to His chosen nation, “Anochi Hashem Elokecha Asher Hotzeisicha MeEretz Mitzrayim MiBeis Avadim,” – “ I am Hashem, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt from the house of slavery.” Many ask the question, why didn’t Hashem introduce Himself as God, Creator of the world, which seemingly ...
(Add your opinion  |   June 03 )

Shavuos - An Overview

Shavuos - An Overview
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] PREPARING FOR SHAVUOS Shavuos is called Z’man Matan Toraseinu.  Originally, this event occurred in the Hebrew year 2448 (3324 years ago). As we know, Rav Dessler in his Michtav M’Eliyahu explains that time does not flow as a straight line, but rather as a circle.  The day of Shavuos which is the 6th of Sivan is, therefore, the very day that we received the Torah. Similarly, the Nesivos Shalom explains that just as the Torah is eternal, so too is Kabalas ...
(Add your opinion  |   June 02 )

What’s New in Kitniyos?

What’s New in Kitniyos?
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] It is a custom that is in the news.  The OU, for example, recently changed its interpretation on what items fall into it.  In certain circles in Israel it is a custom under relentless attack.  And it is a custom that is far older than many religions, including both Protestant Christianity and even Islam.  We are, of course, referring to the custom of Ashkenazic families to refrain from consuming kitniyos. HISTORY The minhag to not eat kitniyos (often defined ...
(11 opinions  |   March 27 )

May Orthodox Rabbis Permit Women to Don Tefillin?

May Orthodox Rabbis Permit Women to Don Tefillin?
[By Rav Mayer Twersky and published on TorahWeb.  Rav Mayer Twersky is a Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS and a grandson of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik] I. The Ruling of the Ramo and Modern Reaction ואם הנשים רוצין להחמיר על עצמן מוחין בידן and if the women wish to act stringently [and don tefillin] we rebuke them (Ramo, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 38:3) Recently, some rabbis have publicized and implemented their view that women wishing to ...
(27 opinions  |   March 26 )

Halachic Analysis: Why No Autopsies

Halachic Analysis: Why No Autopsies
[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman] Recent events in the Jewish community have brought up the concept of autopsies in Jewish law. Some question why Jewish law is opposed to autopsies. In this short essay, a brief overview of the “whys” is offered. In almost every venue or endeavor, American citizens generally face three varying sets of laws. There are federal laws, state laws, and local laws. Mature, intelligent citizens view their laws with a sense of pride and duty. Observing them is not viewed ...
(8 opinions  |   March 26 )

Parsha Potpourri: Parshas Tzav/Purim

Vaya'as Aharon u'banav es kol ha'devarim asher tziva Hashem b'yad Moshe (8:36) After discussing more of the laws governing the various offerings, Parshas Tzav turns its attention to the inauguration of the Kohanim. It relates at length the procedure by which Aharon and his sons were consecrated to serve as Kohanim. After relating all of the details of the process, the parsha summarizes and concludes by recording that Aharon and his sons did everything that Moshe had commanded them to do in ...
(Add your opinion  |   March 14 )