Automatic Agency

My weekly halachah column for parashas Shelah: Parashas Shelach (15:21) contains the commandment to separate challah: “Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto Hashem an heave offering in your generations.” The challah that is separated is given to a Cohen; in contemporary times, it is burned. Normally, separating challah is the prerogative […]

A Ring To Bind Them

We once argued that there is actually no normative halachic objection to, or even custom against, a man directly giving his inamorata an engagement (or any other sort of) ring But as commenters Mendel and Shalom Rosenfeld point out, we missed the stringent position of Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rav Henkin […]

Minding One’s Yeas and Nays

In an interview with Slashdot, Richard Dawkins explains why atheists and skeptics should be less respectful toward religion, or perhaps why the attitude he advocates does not constitute disrespect (he is somewhat confusing): Slashdot: In a TED Talk you gave a few years ago, you finished by speaking about how 9/11 changed you, and said […]