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All the Right Notes: The Two Trops for the Ten Commandments

Rabbi Dov Gertler

Many people listening to the Aseres Hadibros are surprised to hear a different trop being used. But why do we have this extra set of taamim, and what is the source for the taamim as a whole? Following the trail through the sources uncovers some interesting findings.

 

Not Beyond Redemption: Bartenura on Megillas Ruth

Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene

The familiar story contained in Megillas Ruth takes on deeper allegorical meanings in this adaptation of the commentary of Rabbeinu Ovadia of Bartenura.

 

Festooning with Foliage: Minhag Yisrael or Chukos Hagoyim?

Rabbi Yehuda Spitz

Communities around the world uphold the custom at Shavuos time to adorn their shuls with greenery, in an echo of Mount Sinai’s blooming flowers at the giving of the Torah. What are the reasons underlying this minhag? And why do so many shuls not observe it? An exploration of the halachic underpinnings to this time-honored practice.

 

Alone in the Crowd: Relating to the Converts of Amon and Moav

Rabbi Moshe Hubner

The Midrash says we read Megillas Ruth on Shavuos to learn “the great reward for those who act with kindness toward others” — referring specifically to Boaz’s kindness toward the Moabite convert Ruth. Yet in light of a clear Biblical commandment not to be kind to Moabites, was Boaz’s behavior even permissible? A fascinating examination of one of this Megillah’s halachic aspects.

 

Mitzvos before Matan Torah

Yoram Bogacz

We often find in Torah sources the notion that the nation’s forefathers — Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov — observed the entire Torah, even though they lived before the Torah was given to the Jewish people at Har Sinai. This has given rise to a vast rabbinic literature that interprets and clarifies various passages in the Torah in light of this principle, and addresses what appear to be counterexamples to it. In this article, we will clarify the concept of Torah observance in the pre-Matan Torah era.

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