STAR-K Launches the Institute of Halacha

Summer 2008

The Mishnah teaches us, “appoint for yourself a rav,” a Torah guide from whom you can acquire clarity through wisdom.  But, what happens when you do not have a personal rav, or you live in a large Jewish community but your Rav is unavailable and time is of the essence for your halachic query?

STAR-K realizes that there is no substitute for a person’s own rav.  In an effort to offer a possible solution, it has launched its Institute of Halacha as a public service.  Over the years, the agency’s Kashrus Hotline has answered generic halachic questions from kosher consumers the world over, including inquiries regarding the kosher status of foods and certified Sabbath mode appliances.  The formation of a separate official division within STAR-K testifies to the need for addressing these issues.

The Institute of Halacha is directed by HaRav Mordechai Frankel, under the guidance of HaRav Moshe Heinemann, STAR-K’s Rabbinic Administrator.  It is an invaluable resource for a diverse array of rabbis to discuss general halachic matters, as well as gain access to source materials for shiurim and answers to congregants’ questions.

HaRav Mordechai Frankel, a native of London, England, learned at Yeshivas Bais Yisroel in Israel before attending Ner Israel Rabbinical College, where he received semicha from Rav Yaakov Kulefsky, zt”l.  Rav Frankel is the author of Mayim Rabbim,” an analytical sefer on the meforshim and midrashim in Sefer Bereishis.  He also teaches at Baltimore’s Bais Yaakov High School and Maalot Seminary, in addition to giving a Daf Yomi shiur.

“It will be a privilege to be a resource to the congregants and rabbonim of the many shuls across the country faced with questions spanning the full spectrum of halacha,” Harav Frankel noted. “I am aware that it is a great responsibility to ensure that people are doing what Hashem wants, and following His will.  The Institute of Halacha will help people get that clarity of what the Torah wants them to do.”

According to HaRav Heinemann, “HaRav Frankel is particularly suited for such a position, with his years of experience acting as a posek in the absence of both myself and Rav Yaakov Hopfer.  I have confidence that HaRav Frankel will be able to do the perfect job to answer all the questions necessary, according to the Shulchan Aruch, in filling this tremendous need.”

Shailos from rabbonim and individuals may be called into the Institute of Halacha at 410-484-4110 x238 on Monday-Thursday 2-5 p.m., and Friday 11 a.m.- 2 p.m., or emailed here. (Emails will be answered only during the hours noted.)