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] 11 Tishrei, 5782 - September 17, 2021 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly
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Save Animal and Man on Yom Kippur

What will we take with us to Yom Kippur? What justification can we offer in exchange for atonement?

The Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh says: "One of the defenses a person can present in the hope of being acquitted on the Day of Judgment is that he did not sin with a complacent heart." Even though he will be charged and punished for every gram of improper thoughts, still, his judgment will be lighter if he did not commit the sins wholeheartedly (Ki Siso 32 31).

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Checking the Esrogim of Morocco

HaRav Efrati, head of the Institute and talmid of HaRav Eliashiv, provides background: "In the Institute for Agricultural Research According to Torah, we dealt with this question. Most Providentially, in 5756, with full rabbinic backing, a delegation set out to Morocco, among whose members was HaRav Aharon Dovid Dunner from London, as well as professional experts on citrus fruit and esrogim, such as Professor A. Goldschmidt. They saw and tested everything there. According to their findings, the places where esrogim are cultivated do not have any question of grafting, for a very simple reason - there is no need for it."

What brought about the expedition which took place in Sivan 5781? Why was the previous trip of 5756 insufficient?

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The Great Debate of the Grafted Esrog

This article originally appeared in the paper in 5755 (1994). It is a comprehensive review of the many issues that arose over the centuries about using grafted esrogim. Nowadays it is generally accepted that we do not use such esrogim, and there are various testimonies to their lineage.

Part I

How halachically reliable are the signs for distinguishing between the grafted and non-grafted esrog?—Does aiding the settlement of Eretz Yisroel confer preferred status on the esrogim from that country?—The Rambam's contention that the mitzva of arba minim is to highlight our joy at having left the desert and entered Eretz Yisroel—Can the grafted esrog be invalidated because its cultivation involves transgressing the Torah's prohibition against tree grafting?—Could the esrog and the lemon in fact belong to the same family and grafting them be permitted?—The Ramban's opinion that the Torah identifies the esrog by name—The opinion that permits taking a lemon if no esrog is available—The assertion of the acharonim that an undetectable deficiency in the fruit does not invalidate it—Can a child take a grafted esrog?—What can be done if a grafted esrog becomes mixed with non-grafted esrogim?

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Jewish Organizations Want to Allow State Aid for Religious Schools

Agudath Israel of America, together with a number of other Orthodox Jewish organizations, joined the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA), in filing an "amicus curiae" (friend of the court) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, urging public funding of secular studies in religious schools.

The case before the High Court, Carson v. Makin, was brought by parents whose children attend religious schools in Maine. Although many private school students in Maine are eligible for state tuition funding, a state law says that the state will not pay tuition for students who attend a religious school - not even for the cost of the secular education portion.

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