Operation Pesach

Once again, it is pleasure to remind you that from now until Pesach ends, we will answer your Pesach questions. Email is answered as promptly as possible. All emails are answered by rabbis.

Last year we answered hundreds and hundreds of letters, and we do it with great pleasure.

Send your questions to:

Operationpassover@utj.org
Operationpesach@utj.org
OP@utj.org

We can also sell your hametz for you! Please click here to fill out your appointment of UTJ to sell your hametz.

Wishing you a happy and kosher Pesach holiday!

Rabbi Schachter’s Troubling Tone

This letter first appeared in The Jewish Link of Bergen County

Rabbi Hershel Schachter’s resposum concerning young women being permitted to wear tefillin in yeshiva schools is less troubling for its conclusion as it is for its attitude.  Rabbi Schachter emphatically denies the right of reasonable rabbinic minds to disagree with him, charging that his students were out of bounds in making a decision on their own permitting women to don teffiln and tallit, rather than referring the question to gedolei hora’ah (giants of instruction) such as himself.

One might suspect that it is necessary to defer to gedolei hora’ah due to their superior knowledge of text and that, therefore, Rabbi Schachter’s responsum would explicate texts that these lesser rabbis had failed to consider or had misconstrued.  But he cannot do so, because the texts are clear:

The Babylonian Talmud (Eruvin 96a) reports, without dissent, that Michal, daughter of Saul, wore tefillin and that, “the sages didn’t bother her.”  The Jerusalem Talmud (Eruvin 10:1, 26a) and Pesikta Rabati (22) offer the same report, albeit with the lone dissent of Rav Chizkiah in the name of Rabbi Abahu.  The early post-Talmudic rabbis took the Babylonian Talmud’s report (as well as the general rule that women may perform acts for which they are not obligated) to be halakhically decisive and ruled that women may wear tefillin (e.g. Sefer Hachinuch, Mitzvah 471 and Responsa of RaSh”Ba 1:123), and Rabbenu Tam went as far as to cite the Michal story as proof that women may say a blessing when performing such acts (Eruvin 96a s.v. dilma savar).

The UTJ's Op-Ed Initiative

The UTJ's Op-Ed Initiative is now underway with a goal of getting UTJ thinking into the public square on a monthly basis. Please click on the links below for news coverage that has appeared over the last three months. In order to keep our issues in front of the public, we encourage you to respond to our pieces by posting your comments on websites and writing letters to editors.

Rabbi David Bauman, Executive Director of the UTJ, to deliver Menorah for the White House Chanukah Party

On December 13th, the White House Chanukah Party will be illuminated by a beautiful brass Menorah from Temple Israel of Long Beach NY, that was rescued just one month ago from Hurricane Sandy’s devastation. Rabbi David Bauman, Executive Director of the Union for Traditional Judaism, and the synagogue’s spiritual leader, and President of the synagogue Bruce Sklover, will transport the Menorah to Washington for this special honor at the Chanukah party, hosted by President and Mrs. Obama.
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