Daughters and Distinctions: Part I

For B.E., on the occasion of her birth. The Torah’s laws of inheritance include three invidious (in the sense of “tending to cause discontent, animosity, or envy”) distinctions between males and females: A son has precedence over a daughter in inheriting their parents.1 A father inherits his children, but a mother does not. A husband …

Flora and Pfingsten

My weekly פרשה lectures and הלכה column for the past פרשיות אחרי מות-קדושים discussed the Biblical prohibition against “walking in the ordinances” of the Gentiles. As I discuss, a debate over the scope and parameters of this prohibition is apparently behind the controversy over the custom (or family of customs) of the arraying of trees, …

Copying Cruciform Churches, Campanas, Circuses and Colosseums

We recently mentioned in passing Rav Zvi Hirsch (Maharaz) Hajes’s prohibition of bell ringing to gather the populace for prayer; here is his discussion in full. He begins by prohibiting the deliberate construction of octagonal, and certainly quadrilateral, synagogue buildings, “in the form of the halls of the nations” [perhaps a reference to the cruciform …