HaShoneh Halachos

In a Talmudic dictum, which is recited as part of the Sabbath service, we say that anyone who studies Jewish law daily can be confident that he has earned a place in the World to Come. (Of course, there is an assumption that one will do something with the knowledge he acquires through such study.) As Rosh Hashana draws closer, the OU is starting a daily email through which participants can study Jewish laws each day, helping them to ensure their place in the Next World. The email is called “HaShoneh Halachos” (“one who studies Jewish laws”), words taken from the aforementioned Talmudic dictum.

The HaShoneh Halachos emails will include two halachos per day, seven days a week. (Emails for Shabbos and Yom Tov will be sent in advance.) Material will be based upon the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, with occasional comments from the Mishnah Brurah inserted. The text is not a direct translation but a paraphrase into easy-to-read, conversational English. The program will start from the very first chapter, the laws of arising in the morning.

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, Torah Content Editor for the Orthodox Union web site (www.outorah.org), will be coordinating the project and providing the text. Among the other OU Torah projects under his aegis are the daily Nach Yomi, Mishna Yomit and Taryag programs, focusing on the study of Bible, oral law and the 613 commandments, respectively.

“A daily study of halacha (Jewish law) is such an integral component of Jewish life that it’s virtually an obligation for us to make this resource available to the community,” said Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director of the OU. “Rabbi Abramowitz has a talent for taking even the most complex material and making it easily digestible. We are fortunate to have him spearheading this initiative.”

The material emailed daily for HaShoneh Halachos will also be featured on OU Torah. Currently, the “Jewish Law” section of OU Torah features shiurim on business ethics from the Choshen Mishpat section of Shulchan Aruch, and on kashrus from the Yoreh De’ah section. HaShoneh Halachos will reflect OU Torah’s first foray into Orach Chaim, the section of Shulchan Aruch that deals with daily life. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch upon which HaShoneh Halachos is based was not intended only for scholars or specialists; it was designed to be a practical handbook for every Jew.

The HaShoneh Halachos email is scheduled to start on or about Wednesday, September 28, the eve of Rosh Hashana.