In honor of Parshas Korach, in which kohanim feature so significantly, I bring you: By Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff Imagine the splendor of the Beis HaMikdash, with the kohanim wearing their pure white robes and turbans and their techeiles belts, racing to fulfill the wondrous avodah that brings the Jewish people close to Hashem! Not to [...]Full Story »
You are waiting patiently in the checkout line at “The Kosher Grocer,” together with three other women — the Rebbitzen of your shul, the widowed Rebbitzen of a famous Rosh Yeshiva, and Mrs. Cohen, who is the wife of a kohen at your shul. Do you have a mitzvah or a requirement to step aside [...]Full Story »
In the year 5017 (1257), several hundred Baalei Tosafos, led by Rav Yechiel of Paris, left Northern France on a journey to Eretz Yisrael. Rav Eshtori HaParchi, who lived two generations later, records a fascinating story he heard when he went to Yerushalayim to have his sefer, the Kaftor VaFarech, reviewed by a talmid chacham, [...]Full Story »
By Jerry Kaufman As reported to Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff My sister and her family are coming for Yom Tov for the very first time, which has us all very excited! But, we need to figure out all the logistics of having everyone together for Yom Tov — where will everyone sleep, how to arrange sufficient [...]Full Story »
Question #1: Donkey Rides Have you ever ridden a donkey? Did you stop to wonder whether the donkey might be firstborn and that it might be prohibited to ride it? Question #2: Pony Rides May I ride a horse without checking first whether it is firstborn? Question #3: Ask its mother! How do I know [...]Full Story »
Does wool felt sewn to linen present a shatnez concern?
What are reprocessed fibers, and do they present a shatnez problem?
Does a “sheepskin” blanket present a potential shatnez concern?Full Story »
Question: I know the Torah teaches that we are to treat a kohen with honor, yet I always see people asking kohanim to do favors. Am I permitted to ask a kohen to do me a favor? Answer: You are asking a very excellent and interesting question. It is correct that a look at [...]Full Story »
In the year 5017 (1257), several hundred Baalei Tosafos, led by Rav Yechiel of Paris, headed for Eretz Yisroel. An almost-contemporary gadol, the Kaftor VaFarech, records a fascinating story (Vol. 1, page 101 in the 5757 edition). Rav Ashtori HaParchi, the author of Kaftor VaFarech, had gone to Yerushalayim to have his sefer reviewed by a talmid chacham named Rav Baruch. Rav Baruch told the Kaftor VaFarech that Rav Yechiel had planned to offer korbanos upon arriving in Yerushalayim. Kaftor VaFarech records that at the time he was preoccupied completing his sefer and did not think about the halachic issues involved, but afterwards realized that there were practical halachic problems (that we will discuss shortly) with Rav Yechiel’s plan. I think we can assume that Rav Yechiel’s plan to offer korbanos failed, presumably because Yerushalayim was under Crusader rule at the time.Full Story »
In Parshas Naso, the Torah teaches us about the beautiful mitzvah of Birchas Kohanim, wherein the kohanim are commanded to bless the people of Israel. This mitzvah is usually referred to by Ashkenazic Jews as “duchening” and by Sefardic Jews as Birchat Kohanim, or occasionally as Nesiyat Kapayim, which refers to the raising of the hands that the kohanim do in order to recite the blessings.Full Story »
Fast forward to the modern era: In 5722/1962, workers digging a foundation for the zoo’s new barn discovered a skeleton and a casket. They reburied the casket in situ and poured the foundation right on top. During 5758/1998, workers constructing a parking lot in the area discovered 81 skeletons and an iron casket containing a cadaver. There are at least nineteen more reports of human bones found in the disused cemetery’s location. Thus, the shaylah is whether a Kohen may walk through the streets and businesses of this old-time burial ground.Full Story »