Is Love Blind?

The central narrative in parashas Hayei Sarah is the mission of Avraham’s servant to obtain a wife for Yitzhak. It is generally assumed, by midrashim, other commentaries (including Ibn Ezra, in a passing remark in parashas Yisro1), and contemporary Orthodox students of the Torah that the servant in question was Eliezer, but the servant is …

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 …

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 …