Schuhe and Handschuhe

My weekly halachah column: In Megilas Rus (4:7), it is recorded that: “Formerly, this was done in cases of redemption and exchange transactions to validate any matter: One would draw off his shoe (na’alo), and give it to the other. This was the process of ratification in Israel.”1 While many have understood this verse as […]

Visiting Virtually Via Video

I recently encountered what is likely one of the earliest halachic discussions of personal videotelephony – by Rav Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss (the מנחת יצחק), in a responsum to the prolific rabbinic correspondent R. Shalom Yechezkel Shraga Rubin Halberstam (the “Ciechanówer Rebbe”), regarding ביקור חולים – in 5716 (1956)! חכם עדיף מנביא: אולם בנוגע לנידון דידן […]

This Land Was Made For You and Me

R. Dr. Asher Meir writes: The Torah emphasizes in many places a positive, welcoming approach to the stranger or immigrant. Indeed, this attitude is described as one of the foremost lessons of our exile in Egypt. For instance, it is forbidden to take advantage of the alien’s vulnerability: And don’t oppress the stranger nor pressure […]