Jewish Mourning Customs Between Passover and Shavous

Before dissecting it, let’s first lay out what the accepted modern-day understanding of the origins of Sefira and Lag BaOmer customs are according to the classical Jewish sources. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim siman 493) says: נוהגים שלא לישא אשה בין פסח לעצרת עד ל”ג בעומר מפני שבאותו זמן מתו תלמידי ר’ עקיבא אבל לארס ולקדש שפיר דמי ונשואין נמי מי שקפץ וכנס אין עונשין…

Haircuts, Bonfires and Weddings: Lag BaOmer and the customs of Sefira

It is customary for all Jews to observe some customs of mourning during the days of Sefiras HaOmer – between Pesach and Shavous – and to have a festive day on either the 33rd day of the Omer – or for Sephardim the 34th. These customs are binding for all observant Jews as codified in the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch etc. That said, it…

Who Is This Rabbi?

Many have asked me to explain who the Rabbi in this picture is and why I use his likeness in my blog sometimes. His name is Rabbi Yoel Shorin zt”l but he was more widely known as the Poltava Illui (The Prodigy from Poltava). He was a student of Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin zt”l (the Netziv) and was the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Torah…

Killing For The Right Reasons: Meseches Zevachim

We’re starting Seder Kodshim in daf yomi beginning with Zevachim. So before I write anything I should first preface that this is my first time through Kodshim – so it’s entirely possible that I’ll say stuff that will be demonstrably wrong on the next page, but I figure I may as well write down my impressions as I go. The mishna starts off saying that…

Horayos: Even The Sadducees Admit

So I have some opinions about this that I don’t have time to write about / fully flesh out, so I’ll just mention some questions and comments. The Talmud says: אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל אין ב”ד חייבין עד שיורו בדבר שאין הצדוקין מודין בו אבל בדבר שהצדוקין מודין בו פטורין מאי טעמא זיל קרי בי רב הוא Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said –…

Hebrew Calendar / Sefira Page w/ The Hebcal API

Happy Passover all! I recently discovered Hebcal, a free Jewish Calendar API. I was stuck at home with some kind of allergy/ asthma thing, so I spent some time today playing w/ it here. For now it only shows the candle lighting times here in Bet Shemesh, so next I’ll set it up to check the users location and set it to that. For now,…

G-d, Man and The Temple – Part One

This post, while relevent to Sukkos, will also introduce some key concepts in Shaare Ora Receive Updates About Shaare Ora Podcast and Related Posts Genesis 1:27 ויברא אלהים את האדם בצלמו בצלם אלהים ברא אתו זכר ונקבה ברא אתם And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Talmud Bavli, Berachot 33a א”ר…

Influences: Rabbi Aaron Moshe Shechter Shlit”a

During the holiday season, I have been giving a lot of thought to the people who influenced my life and way of thinking. I have been fortunate to meet some interesting people over the years. I decided that I would share some of these experiences with my readers. Some of these people are too private to write about, others had influences that are too specific…