True Neutrality

Our previous post noted the idea, attributed to the Sanzer Rav, that Zelafhad’s daughters’ assurance to Moshe that their father had not been involved in Korah’s rebellion constituted “verbal bribery” and thus triggered his recusal from their petition. It turns out (unsurprisingly) that this exegesis is actually at least a millennium old, with its first …

Fixing Cleopatra’s Nose

A couple of years ago, we discussed the question of the permissibility of plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes, and we noted R. Chaim Jachter’s characteristically excellent discussion of the topic, in which he notes that both Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Ya’akov Breish discuss very similar sounding cases of a young woman who wished to …

Judges and Grudges

The petition of Zelafhad’s daughters to Moshe emphasized that their father “was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin”: א וַתִּקְרַבְנָה בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד, בֶּן-חֵפֶר בֶּן-גִּלְעָד בֶּן-מָכִיר בֶּן-מְנַשֶּׁה, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹת, מְנַשֶּׁה בֶן-יוֹסֵף; וְאֵלֶּה, שְׁמוֹת בְּנֹתָיו–מַחְלָה נֹעָה, וְחָגְלָה וּמִלְכָּה וְתִרְצָה. ב …