Beyond the Law

One of the most provocative interpretations of the fundamental distinction between Misnagdic and Hassidic theology I have ever seen appears in R. Yehoshua Mondshine’s Letter To A Friend: “מתנגדישע פרומקייט” מדרכי החסידות הוא שלא לנטות מדרך ההלכה ימין ושמאל, להזהר עד קצה האחרון אפילו בדקדוק קל של דברי סופרים, לבטל את השכל אל ההלכה ורצון …

Pulling Permits For A Sukkah

Here is my weekly halachah column for Sukkos: The Torah reading for Shemini Atzeres (Devarim 16:13) contains the commandment: “chag ha’Sukkos ta’aseh lecha shivas yamim” (You shall make the festival of Sukkos for a seven day period). The Talmud understands the word lecha to mean that a sukkah must be one’s own: R. Eliezer rules …

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 …