The “Reckless Partier” Defense

We have previously discussed the “reckless partier” defense – a halachic exemption from liability for torts perpetrated in the course of customarily boisterous celebration (e.g., on Purim, or at a wedding). The primary early source for this is a ruling of Tosafos (based on Rashi’s interpretation of a Mishnah), echoed throughout the French-German halachic tradition: […]

Blessing the Fashioner Of Man In the House Of the Fashioner Of Man

I recently read several responsa on the bitterly controversial nineteenth century question of holding weddings in synagogues, including one that is probably the most famous treatment of the subject, by Hasam Sofer, and another rather less well know pair, by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. Much of their technical analysis revolves around the descriptions of traditional […]

Putting One's Foot Down, For Once and For All

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’1 I was recently researching the origins of the venerable tradition of the groom stepping on the bride’s foot (or vice versa) under the Huppah to symbolize or effectuate his dominance over her (or hers over him) during the marriage. The earliest […]