Responsa

Non-Jews Violating Shabbat on Jews’ Behalf

by R. Gidon Rothstein 27 Tammuz: R. Uzziel on Non-Jews Violating Shabbat on Jews’ Behalf The personal interplay between the person asking the question and the respondent is also an aspect of the responsa literature from which we can learn. In Shu”t Mishpetei Uzziel 3;Orach Chayyim 31, dated 27 Tammuz 5798 (1938), R. Uzziel responds to an article by R. Yosef Shaul Elyashar, ...

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Where to Place a Mezuzah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 20 Tammuz: R. Ya’akov Ettlinger on Where to Place a Mezuzah Mezuzah seems like a fairly simple mitzvah: you buy a piece of parchment with the proper writing on it, put it in a case and attach it to the right doorpost of a doorway. In fact, several of those words need better definition before we can ...

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Choosing Communal Leaders

by R. Gidon Rothstein 13 Tammuz: R. Uzziel on Choosing Communal Leaders People struggle with ceding power to leaders, however they are chosen, because they may or will take actions the citizenry will dislike. Shu”t Mishpetei Uzziel 4; Choshen Mishpati 3, dated 13 Tammuz 5695 (1935), responded to HaPoel HaMizrachi’s questions about the powers of leaders, and the best way to select them. He starts ...

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Moshe’s Sin at the Rock

by R. Gidon Rothstein 6 Tammuz: Tzitz Eliezer on Moshe’s Sin at the Rock I think we sometimes hear the word “responsum” as limited to practical halachic discussions. For some meshivim (and this might depend also on whether the scholar himself collected these letter for publication, or his heirs did), any correspondence on Torah matters qualifies. That means, for example, that some or many responsa deal ...

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Mikveh on Shabbat Night

by R. Gidon Rothstein 15 Sivan: Bach on Going to Mikveh Early on Friday Night/Shabbat It is an occasional pleasure to find a responsum from relatively early in our history (with a date on it, so it can be included in this collection). This time, we get to learn from R. Yoel Sirkis, known as Bach, the acronym of Bayit ...

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Levirate Marriage Today

by R. Gidon Rothstein RH Sivan: R. Ovadya Yosef Permitting a Yibum Looking to unify a nation of Jews with diverse practices brings challenges, and some will lean more towards imposing unity, others towards tolerating diversity. Yabia Omer 8; Even HaEzer 26 shows an example of R. Ovadya Yosef opting for diversity in a remarkable way. Dated Rosh Chodesh Sivan ...

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Extending Life

by R. Gidon Rothstein 16 Iyyar: R. Moshe Feinstein on When We Have to Extend Life I couldn’t resist this responsum because I knew the doctor who asked it. Dr. Neal Zev Ringel took a year, mid-training, to study at Yeshivat Har Etzion (Gush). It was 1982-83, my post-high school year. Just before that year, he apparently asked a question ...

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