Theft and Thaumaturgy II

The previous post in this series discussed the idea that Rachel stole Lavan’s תרפים in order to prevent them from informing Lavan of her family’s flight; this post discusses the other main traditional explanation of her theft, that the תרפים were idols worshipped by Lavan, and Rachel stole them to wean him from idolatry. בראשית […]

Ascetics, Aesthetics, and Cosmetics

My halachah column for this past year’s פרשת נשא: In Parashas Naso (6:11), a Nazarite is commanded to bring a sin-offering. As we have noted in previous years, the Talmud (Bava Kama 91b) cites an explanation that this is to atone for the sin of having (unnecessarily) deprived himself of the enjoyment of wine. Elsewhere […]

Are All His Ways Judgment?

The 5 Towns Jewish Times reported a question recently posed to Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding whether Jews in Miami should obey evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Irma, followed by his characteristically terse and rather oracular answer: BREAKING VIDEO: Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Tells Miami Residents To Leave Their Homes! ‘Sakanah!’ Hurricane Irma’s size and strength […]