How Should a Person Repent for Causing an Accidental Death? Volume 12, Number 2 February 2018

Question: If a Jew causes the accidental death of another person, what can he or she do in order to repent for that action?
Responsum: In Genesis, Chapter 4, Cain kills Abel in a fit of jealousy. God punishes him by sending him into exile (v. 12 ff). The punishment of exile was later used by the bible to punish accidental homicide. If Reuven killed Shimon by accident, Reuven had to flee to a city of refuge and stay there until the High Priest died. (1) The main purpose of this exile was not teshuvah or repentance, but to prevent the relatives of Shimon from killing Reuven (Numbers 35: 11-12; Deut. 4:42; Joshua 20:3 ff.).

Is it Permissible for Women to Serve as Shohatot (Ritual Slaughterers)? Responsa in a Moment Vol. 12, No. 1, December 2017

Is it permissible for women to serve as Shohatot (ritual slaughterers)? We shall present the opinions of those who permit, those who limit, and those who prohibit, and then we shall summarize the matter and give a halakhic ruling. In this responsum, we shall repeatedly use the Hebrew words Shehitah [ritual slaughter] and Nikkur [porging of meat in order to remove the forbidden fat and sinews].

Ahavat Hinam (Groundless Love) as an Antidote for Sinat Hinam (Groundless Hatred) Responsa in a Moment Volume 11, Number 6

We have just begun “the three weeks”, a period of national mourning and introspection between the fast days 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’av. There is a well-known passage in the Talmud (Yoma 9b), which says that the Second Temple was destroyed because of Sinat Hinam – groundless hatred. On the other hand, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kuk said that “if we were destroyed and the world with us due to Sinat Hinam, we will return to being rebuilt and the world with us due to Ahavat Hinam (groundless love) (Orot Hakodesh, III, pp. 323-324). My Uncle, Rabbi Baruch G. Goldstein זצ”ל  — a Holocaust survivor who passed away at the age of 94 on Erev Shavuot — lived his life according to the principle of Ahavat Hinam. Therefore, I have decided to share my eulogy for him during the three weeks as an incentive for all of us to practice Ahavat Hinam and Ahavat Hessed (to love kindness) during the three weeks and throughout the year. Yehi zikhro barukh! May his memory be for a blessing!

Why do Jews Use the Matronymic in Prayers for the Sick?* Volume 11, Number 2

There is a widespread custom today to use the matronymic in the mee sheberakh prayers recited for the sick during the Torah service. It is not entirely clear when or where this custom began. A prayer for the sick from fourteenth-century Provence uses ploni ben ploni [a male son of a male]. In a classic series of articles by Avraham Ya’ari about the mee sheberakh prayers, we also find ploni ben ploni or the abbreviation p’b’p’ in prayers for the sick.

Is it Permissible to Renovate or Build a New Building During the Nine Days Which begin on Rosh Hodesh Av? Responsa in a Moment: Volume 10, Issue No. 8, July 2016

At the outset, I would like to stress the importance of the laws of Tisha B’av. On the one hand, I believe that it is very important to fast on Tisha B’av and to remember the Destruction in our day, even after the rebirth of the State of Israel and the reunification of Jerusalem. On the hand, there are many stringencies connected to “the three weeks” between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, which were added in the Middle Ages by Aveilei Tziyon [= Mourners of Zion] and Ashkenazic rabbis, which have no Talmudic basis and which, in my opinion, there is no reason to observe.

Why do we spill 16 drops of wine while reciting the Ten Plagues during the Seder? Responsa in a Moment: Volume 10, Issue No. 6, April 2016

In addition to providing the origin of this specific custom, I will give the sources for the custom of sprinkling or spilling drops of wine while reciting the Ten Plagues, the reasons that have been given for the custom, and the various permutations of the custom.