The Beginning of Wisdom p.133

Sacrifice is of human origins. God neither commands nor requests it; we have reason to suspect – and will soon be given ample evidence to defend this suspicion – that the human impulse to sacrifice is, to say the least, highly problematic, and especially from God’s point of view. To be sure, God will eventually command sacrifices, though then only under the strictest rules. As in so many other matters, the problematic is permitted but only if regulated. Because He will not, or cannot, extirpate the dangerous impulses in men, God makes concessions to them, while at the same time containing them under explicit and precise commandments.


Leon Kass – The Beginning of Wisdom p.133


The Beginning of Wisdom p.101

For one thing, the man’s origin was lower, from the dust; the woman begins from already living flesh and, moreover, from flesh taken close to the heart. Also, the man is, in the process, rendered less than hole; he suffers a permanent but invisible wound, signifying a deep and probably unfulfillable desire. Because he is incomplete and knows it, the man will always be looking for something he lacks; but as the image of a lost rib suggests, the man cannot really know what is missing or what the sought-for wholeness would really be. Male erotic desire is a conundrum: it wants and wants ardently, but it is unsure of what exactly would fully satisfy it.


Leon Kass – The Beginning of Wisdom p.101

Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis p.310

After this first point has been established our psychiatric interest will become even livelier. If a delusion is not to be got rid of by a reference to reality, no doubt it did not originate from reality either. Where else did it originate? There are delusions of the most varied content: why in our case is the content of the delusion jealousy in particular? In what kind of people do delusions, and especially delusions of jealousy, come about? We should like to hear what the psychiatrist has to say about this; but at this point he leaves us in the lurch. He enters into only a single one of our enquiries. He will investigate the woman’s family history and will perhaps give us this reply: ‘Delusions come about in people in whose families similar and other psychical disorders have repeatedly occurred.” In other words, if this woman developed a delusion she was predisposed to it by hereditary transmission. No doubt this is something; but is it all we want to know? Was this the only thing that contributed to the causation of the illness? Must we be content to suppose that it is a matter of indifference or caprice or is inexplicable whether a delusion of jealousy arises rather than any other sort? And ought we to understand the assertions of the predominance of the hereditary influence in a negative sense as well – that no matter what experiences this woman’s mind encountered she was destined some time or other to produce a delusion? You will want to know why it is that scientific psychiatry will give us no further information. But my reply to you is ‘he is a rogue who gives more than he has.’ The psychiatrist knows no way of throwing more light on a case like this one. He must content himself with a diagnosis and a prognosis – uncertain in spite of a wealth of experience – of its future course.


Sigmund Freud – Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis p.310

The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways p.72

Then there is something else that is also important. The Torah continues, “And you shall become corrupt, and make an engraved image, a likeness of any thing” (Deut. 4:25). The Torah does not say that you will worship an idol, but that you will make an idol. This formulation reflects the fact that a Jew does not begin immediately, at once, to engage in idolatrous worship. He only get used to the idea little by little. At first he says “I will just have an idol in my house. When my gentile neighbor or business partner comes into my house and there is no idol there he will feel strange. Why must a Jewish home look different than a non-Jewish home? I can be a good Jew, but there is no reason for the interior of my home to look different than that of a gentile home.” This happens many times, this problem of good will, like participation in interfaith services or exchanging clergymen.

The Jew who acts this way does not want to worship idols. It is not a question of paganism. It is simply a matter of good-will, of human or social relations. After all, you cannot be completely closed, completely different in your home. So in the beginning it is “And make an engraved image, a likeness of any thing.” You will just make it, you will just display it, but you will have no faith in that engraved image or that likeness. So what is wrong with that? The problem is that his is just the beginning. First you make “an engraved image, a likeness of any thing,” and then what is the result? The Torah continues immediately, “And you shall do evil in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke Him to anger.” One sin will lead to another sin. You will start out just with a display of an engraved image, not with the worship of it, but you will finally become totally ensnared in idol worship.


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik – The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways p.72

Halakhic Man p.57

A subjective religiosity cannot endure. And all those tendencies to transform the religious act into pure subjectivity negate all corporeality and all sensation in religious life and admit man into a pure and abstract world, where there is neither eating nor drinking, but religious individuals sitting with their crowns on their heads and enjoying their own inner experiences, their own tempestuous, heaven-storming spirits their own hidden longings and mysterious yearnings – will in the end prove null and void. The stychic power of religion that seizes hold of man, that subjects and dominates him, is in force only when the religion is a concrete religion, a religion of the life of the senses, in which there is sight, smell, and touch, a religion which conative man will encounter, in a very palpable way, wherever he may go. A subjective religiosity comprised of spiritual moods, of emotions and affections, of outlooks and desires, will never be blessed with success…

The Halakhah, which was given to us from Sinai, is the objectification of religion in clear and determinate forms, in precise and authoritative laws, and in definite principles. It translates subjectivity into objectivity, the amorphous flow of religious experience into a fixed pattern of lawfulness. To what may the matter be compared? To the physicist who transforms light and sound and all of the contents of our qualitative perceptions into quantitative relationships, mathematical functions, and objective fields of force. In the same manner as many philosophical schools accepted the position of Plato and Aristotle that existence means fixity, regularity, and orderliness, so the Halakhah declares that any religiosity which does not lead to determinate actions, firm and clear-cut measures, chiseled and delimited laws and statutes will prove sterile. The concept of nonbeing or of hylic matter also exists in the world of religion. Experience has shown that the whole religious ideology which bases itself on the subjective nature of religion – from Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard to Natorp – can have dangerous, destructive consequences that far outweigh any putative gains.

The Halakhah wishes to objectify religiosity not only through introducing the external act and the psychophysical deed into the world of religion but also through the structuring and ordering of the inner correlative in the realm of man’s spirit. The Halakhah sets down statues and erects markers that serve as a dam against the surging, subjective current coursing though the universal homo religiosus, which, from time to time, in its raging turbulence sweeps away his entire being to obscure and inchoate realms.


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik – Halakhic Man p.57

Halakhic Man p.4

Halakhic man is not some illegitimate, unstable hybrid. On the contrary, out of the contradictions and antimonies there emerges a radiant, holy personality whose soul has been purified in the furnace of struggle and opposition and redeemed in the fires of the torments of spiritual disharmony to a degree unmatched by the universal homo religiosus. The deep split of the soul prior to its being united may, at times, raise a man to a rank of perfection, which for sheer brilliance and beauty is unequaled by any level attained by the simple, whole personality who has never been tried by the pangs of spiritual discord. “In accordance with the suffering is the reward” [Avot 5:23] and in accordance with the split the union! This spiritual fusion that characterized halakhic man is distinguished by its consummate splendor, for did not the split touch the very depths, the innermost core, of his being?


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik – Halakhic Man p.4



When a yachid is saying shmoneh esreh, he should not end off with ve’imru amen, because there’s no one there that he’s talking to. Ve’imru amen is according to those who hold that you can talk to malachim. Rambam has ‘oseh shalom bi’meromav hu yaaseh shalom aleinu ve’al kol amo Yisrael amen ve’amen.’ (Rebbi)

When a yachid is saying birkas yotzer or, he should not say the kedusha. He should read up to the word u’vinimah. (Rebbi)

Bediavad you can daven Mincha even after shkiya. Although technically you are required to finish davening by the end of the zman, there is a safek as to when that actually is. Rav Moshe holds the first 9 minutes (in the summer) is a sfeik sfeika of day. There is a safek if it is Bein Hashmashos or the day. According to RT it is certainly day (until 41 min after shkiya) and according to the Gra it is Bein Hashmashos for 3/4 Mil, but that itself is only a safeik day/night. So he is meikil to daven Mincha in the 3/4 Mil after shkiya. (That works out to be 9 minute in the summer. In the summer from shkiya to tzeis is 50 minutes and is 4 Mil so each 1/4 Mil as about 3 minutes, the Gra holds Bein Hashmashos is 3/4 Mil = 9 minutes, in the summer). (PC)

On Friday evening one must daven Mincha before shkiya. Since one is obligated to accept Shabbos at shkiya because of the safek, it would be a tartei disasrei to daven Mincha thereafter. (PC)

If a person wakes up late, and only has a few minutes before sof zman tefila, it would seem that if there is not enough time to say birkos krias shema and shemoneh esreh, you should just say shemoneh esreh. Birkos krias shema after the zman for krias shema has finished are only said as a hakdama to tefila itself (MB 58 #25) so it would not be worth it to miss out on the kiyum tefila for something which itself is only a kiyum in tefila, semichas geula le’tefila. (RG)

The mitzvos of tallis and tefillin may be done later, so if they will cause you to miss the zman they should not be put on at that time. (RG)

One does not recite birkos ha’shachar past the zman tefila. There is a machlokes, with some (Mishna Berura) holding that they are identified with the order of tefilas ha’shachar- the tefila introduces a manner in which one gives shevach v’hodaa, similar to psukei dzimra. Others, like the Gra (siman 52), hold that they are dependent on an individual’s first experience upon waking, and could be said even into the night. Due to safek brachos le’hakeil one should go like the shita that holds they are not recited after the morning. (RG)

One should wait 18 minutes le’chumra for bein ha’shmashos to pass. The Rambam holds that one mil is 24 minutes, therefore ¾ mil gives you 18. Most other shitos hold that a mil is 18, and thus ¾ mil is 13½ min. (PC)


If you are in a shul where they are ending Shabbos earlier than you, you can be yotzei with their havdala, but it would seem like you have to say the bracha on the eish later, after you have ended Shabbos. This is because Adam Ha’Rishon made fire after Shabbos. You cannot be mazkir early like havdala since the bracha involves asiyas melacha. (PC)

If you make Kiddush early on Shabbos day, you should say Kiddush again later at your main meal that you eat with lechem. The reason is that we rely on a kula to make Kiddush without washing in the morning, by considering mezonos as makom seuda, together with the Raavad’s shita that you can eat before Kiddush (Raavad holds the second Kiddush doesn’t have the technical halachos of Kiddush; see Raavad on Hilchos Shabbos). So it would be a good idea to make Kiddush again for the possibility that mezonos is not enough for makom seuda. Even though we relied on that in the morning we were maykil because we also had the Raavad to rely on. (PC)

The essential seuda on Shabbos and Yom Tov is the day meal. The eating of meat and wine on Yom Tov is fulfilled then. (RG)

It is permitted to make ice on Shabbos. In terms of the question of nolad, there are several answers to that, the best being that it is not nolad because turning water into ice is not a permanent change. (PC)

The Rav held that there should be no food on the table before making Kiddush. This is in accordance with the Rashba in Pesachim (101a) who learns that Kiddush is required be’makom seuda in order to define your oneg. Since Kiddush is defining the whole seuda it must be the beginning with no other accompaniments. This only applies to the evening Kiddush. (RG)

It is permitted to unroll an awning on Shabbos as long as it was already opened a tefach. This is only considered adding to a temporary ohel which is mutar. See O.C. 315:2. (PC)

There is no problem of mechika when tearing packaging with letters on Shabbos, even though you will tear through the words. This is a psik reisha de’lo nicha lei on a de’rabanan, and is thus permitted. (FED)

If one is not sure if the light is off in the fridge on Shabbos, he can cover his eyes the entire time and open it, if absolutely necessary. This would be a sofek psik reisha de’lo nicha lei. (RG)

If one is saying shacharis on Shabbos and stopping before musaf, it is correct to say aleinu since you are ending tefila. That is what they do in yeshiva, when they stop and rejoin the main minyan later. (RG)

It is better not to use a kiddush cup which has a disposable plastic cup placed inside it. Once you are using the plastic cup the kiddush cup is functionally not the same object and it would seem to be a problem. (RG)

You can ask a goy to push the elevator button for you on Shabbos or Yom Tov. The amount of weight you add is insignificant. It would be a shevus de’shevus, which is permitted be’makom mitzvah. If it is possible to take the stairs that is preferred. (RG)

Yom Tov

If you want to bbq on Yom Tov you should light the grill from a preexisting flame. Turn on the gas and bring the flame to the grill to light. (RG)

Showering your entire body on Yom Tov is a machlokes Rambam and Tosfos. The Rambam holds that you cannot wash your entire body at once because of gzeiras merchatz. Tosfos holds that you cannot wash your entire body because it’s a melacha which is not shave le’kol nefesh. However, according to Tosfos’ svara it should be mutar today under ochel nefesh.

Using ointment, creams, and lip balm on Yom Tov does not fall under the heter of ochel nefesh, and would be forbidden (refuah, memachek). Ochel nefesh is only for a positive enjoyment, not for the removal of a negative. (Rebbi)

Hooka is permitted on Yom Tov under the heter of ochel nefesh. (RG)

There is no obligation of eating a seuda with bread on Chol Ha’Moed. R Akiva Eiger deduces from the Rambam in Yom Tov Perek 6 that kibud v’oneg is only on first and last days, and that in Shabbat Perek 30, the Rambam says bread is part of oneg so he says that from the Rambam you only need wine and meat on Chol H’Moed to fulfill simcha. The Mishna Berura (#530) though does say that lechatchila you should have a seuda with bread in the daytime and nighttime. (RG)

Printing from a computer printer falls under maisa uman, and is thus prohibited on Chol Ha’Moed. Since the print is professional looking, it is considered professional craftsmanship. (Rebbi)

It is permissible for a therapist to work on Chol Ha’Moed if the work is important to the patients and missing would have any impact on them. (PC)


It is permitted to buy chametz from a Jewish store that sold their chametz for Pesach (you don’t have to worry about chametz she’avar alav ha’Pesach). (Rebbi)

Selling Chametz: Selling chametz before Pesach with the intention of buying it back is something which is common nowadays, but is best not to rely on. It was primarily instituted for the financial sake of the people generations ago; when they were poor and it would have been costly to get rid of all of their chametz. Nowadays it is not a problem for us to throw away or donate our boxes of cereal and pasta and thus selling chametz is not ideal.

Professional gamblers are not allowed to serve as witnesses because gambling is considered avak gezeila. The person who loses doesn’t really have daat to give over the money. Daat plays an essential role in a transaction as you see even to that extreme. And just having a contract doesn’t necessarily solve the issue. It is necessary that the seller has yeiush, and in this case since one of the parties doesn’t fully have intent to sell (they assume they will get it back, leave it in their possession) there is reason to doubt the validity of the sale. And although normally we say devarim she’ba’lev einam devarim, in a case where a person’s daat is blatantly obvious it will be a problem. Most people would not allow a goy into their homes to take the chametz, and that shows how they really regard the sale. Some Rabbis do not even require the Jew to submit their addresses, thus making it impossible for the goy to actually access what he is supposedly buying!

The Gemara and Rishonim do not discuss selling chametz, leaving it in your possession and buying it back, and it was not a practice done until later. The Torah speaks about destroying all chametz in your possession before the holiday and it is best not to put yourself in safek. There are in fact the additional issurim of bal yiraeh and bal yimatzeh, which are more stringent than a typical case of possessing a davar issur (davar ha’gorem le’mamon is considered like mamon).

There were gedolim who performed mechiras chametz, and there is what to rely on. If someone is selling their chametz with a Rabbi, he must make sure that the Rabbi is reliable and really knows what he’s doing. Many Rabbis don’t structure the agreement properly and just sell the chametz in a very general way.  You can also sell it yourself, and if you know how to do it in a valid manner this would be a preferred option. It is key that the goy feels that the chametz is actually his. Selling for a price that is clearly too low indicates that it is just a ceremonial exchange, and not a true transaction. There should be the possibility that you won’t end up with the chametz back at the end. Due to all of these complications a person should try to be machmir and avoid having to rely on a Rabbi selling his chametz.


If it is raining on the first night of Sukkos, make kiddush in the Sukkah without Leishev, eat a Kezayis of bread and finish the meal inside. If it is clear from the forecast that it will rain all night then you can rely on that and go to sleep.

If the rain will be intermittent then you must wait up until it stops enough that the drips in the Sukkah would not ruin your food, make a bracha and eat a little more than a Ke’baytza of bread.

Le’chatchila a person should wait all night to be Mikayem the Gr”a and Rav Moshe Soloveitchick but if he can’t stay up he can rely on the other Shitos, and if you wake up and it stopped raining you must eat in the Sukkah even if you are mitztaer to get there. (Rebbi)

The bracha of leishev ba’Sukkah which is made on eating, covers sleeping as well, but only if done in the same Sukkah. If one has two separate Sukkahs for eating and sleeping, or if one eats at his friend’s Sukkah, and sleeps in his own, he is mevarech again. (Rebbi)

If a person did not make Kiddush and eat the first seuda in his own Sukka, then he makes a Shehecheyanu the first time he eats or sleeps in his own. Rema OC 641.

On Chol Ha’Moed one should first make hamotzi and then the bracha of leishev (OC 643). (RG)


It is permitted to use a microwave that has not been koshered as long as the food put in is covered and that there is no wetness present that will transfer over. (PC)

The shiur for a kezayis ranges from 13g-21g. Reviis is 3.0 oz. Kedei achilas pras is 4.5 min. (Rebbi)

The range for kedei achilas pras is from 3 min, according to the Marcheshes, to 9 min according to the Chasam Sofer, but his shita is difficult. The Igros Moshe estimates it at 4.5 min, but he likes the Marcheshes’ answer and says you should be machmir for him. Reviis is 2.9 fl. oz. according to the Igros Moshe. (Ve’Dibarta Bam)

It is permitted to buy bread from a non-Jewish bakery as long as the ingredients are all kosher. Then it falls under pas palter which you can be meikel on. (RG)


A regular faucet may be used for Netilas Yadayim. If a cup is available you should use that. See case of barrel in SA OC Hilchos Netilas Yadayim 159:9. (PC)

It is better if the person who makes the brachos lights all of the Chanuka candles. (RG)

If someone is lighting for you then you are exempt from the birkos ha’roeh. If you were not present the first night, but someone lit for you, you do not make Shehecheyanu the next night that you are present. SA 776:3, MB #7. (RG)

The morning after pill is mutar. There are some poskim who even permit the use of condoms in certain situations. (PC)

There does not seem to be any opinion who brings down a concern of koreh le’mafrea by shnayim mikra. (PC)

Rebbi says that it is halachically permitted to go to a New Year’s party, as it is not a religious holiday. (PC)

It is preferable to say Kiddush Levana early. Even if an individual is not dressed in the nicest clothes (the Rema is lenient on this aspect) it seems that it would be better to make sure that you get it in instead of waiting and risking not seeing it again. (RG)

It is permitted to go camping on the Nine Days as there is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of danger or festivities. (RG)