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Read the following articles by Rabbi Bassous:

Superstition and Magic | Print | E-mail
Topics to be discussed:
  1. Introduction
  2. Superstition in the Bible
  3. The Reasons For the Prohibitions against Superstitious Practices
  4. The Validity and Effectiveness of Superstitious Practices
  5. The Validity of Astrology
  6. Different kinds of Magical and Superstitious Practices that are Prohibited
  7. The Evil Eye
  8. Conclusion

Confidentiality in Jewish Law | Print | E-mail
There is a whole range of Jewish laws under the heading of lashon harah or gossip.

The Torah tells us in Leviticus 19:16:
"A tale bearer should not go amongst you."
This is the source for the prohibition of various kinds of gossip, of which revealing confidential information is included.

Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery | Print | E-mail
One of the wonders of modern medicine is the new found ability of surgeons to 'sculpt' different parts of the human anatomy to minute detail with in most cases amazing effect. Stomach tucks, face lifts, nose construction and lipo suction are gaining in popularity.

Medically indicated plastic surgery for trauma victims is definitely allowed by Jewish law, whereas there are divergent opinions regarding pure cosmetic surgery, which is the focus of this article.


The Jewish Concept of Tithing (Maaser Kesafim) in Today's Society | Print | E-mail
Gemilut Hasadim means giving kindness. It is a mitzvah in the Torah to "Love Your Friend as Yourself." 1 This is the source of a broad range of behavior under the heading of gemilut hasadim. Acts of kindness or hesed make this world a more tolerable and better place and draw closer the final redemption.2

Gambling in Jewish Law | Print | E-mail
Gambling is a major growth industry in our era. Casinos, lotteries and slot machines are big business. In this short article I will try to examine the halachic ramifications of gambling.

Philosophic Differences between Rambam & Ramban | Print | E-mail
  • 'Korbanot', Sacrifices.
  • The Holiness of Hebrew, Lashon Hakodesh.
  • Astrology and Black Magic.
  • Lessons from a nazir.
  • Going to a doctor.
  • Use of 'occult' medicine.
  • 'Sefeika de-oraitta le-humra'.

Wasting Resources | Print | E-mail
The Torah in Devarim 20:19 (1) commands the Jewish army besieging an enemy city (Bal Tashchit) not to uproot any fruit trees. The Talmud (2) explains that this mitzvah does not only apply in time of war but any time a person cuts down a fruit tree in wanton destruction he will transgress this prohibition (3).This mitzvah is the heading for a very broad range of prohibitions involving the waste of resources for no useful purpose.

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur | Print | E-mail
Rosh Hashana starts off the period known as the "Aseret Yemei Teshuva", the ten days of penitence. This is a time in the Jewish calendar for soul searching and striving for improvement of character traits and deeds. In the prayers of these ten days when we address the Almighty we refer to Him as the King of creation- who decides at this point in time on the fate of us all for the coming year.

The Mitzvah of Talmud Torah | Print | E-mail
It is a positive commandment 1 to learn Torah and teach it, as it says in Devarim 6:7, "and you shall teach them diligently to your children."

Hadash and Yashan | Print | E-mail
Today we are witnessing a revival of interest in Judaism among our people. This interest is manifested in a variety of ways. More children are attending Yeshiva day schools. More adults attend Torah classes including ‘Daf Yomi.’ More young families are joining synagogues and more Jews are concerned about eating foods that are certified kosher.

One of the laws that has been neglected, outside Israel, until now, and is just starting to come into vogue is that of ‘hadash and yashan,’ literally ‘new and old.’ Today one may notice many kosher bakeries in the New York and greater metropolitan area that have signs posted marked ‘we use yashan flour.’ For many, these signs have no meaning and draw blank stares, even people who understand Hebrew may be baffled by these signs. This article will explain what ‘hadash and yashan’ flour is, and will strive to delineate the halakhic basis for this law. It will also examine the various diverse opinions that exist and guide the reader to practical observance.


Creams, Lotions, Soap, Toothpaste, & Cosmetics on Shabbat | Print | E-mail
Rubbing With Cream on ShabbatHalakhic issue involved:

  1. ‘Memareiah’, spreading.
  2. Healing.

Twilight, Sunset and Night | Print | E-mail
Topics to be discussed:

1. Introduction 2. Sources 3. Contradictions and resolutions 4. The hours of the day 5. The Time Taken to Walk a Mil 6. Tosefet Shabbat 7. The Opinion of Shulhan Arukh 8. The Minhag Today