Responsa

Does Money Create A Sale?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 26 Adar: Chatam Sofer on Whether Money Does or Doesn’t Create a Sale Halachah is meant to be a complete system, applicable to all areas of life. That includes monetary transactions, and I perhaps don’t often enough include responsa where a meshiv is asked to rule on such financial questions. These can seem less “religious,” and ...

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Owning Public Mitzvot

by R. Gidon Rothstein 19 Adar:  R. Ovadya Yosef on Owning Public Mitzvot For whatever positive motives people donate to the public good, ego can get involved as well. In Shu”t Yabi’a Omer 7;23, dated 19 Adar 5738 (1978), some of that had clearly happened. R. Ovadya Yosef was asked for advice by brothers who had donated a parochet, a covering ...

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Women Hearing Parashat Zachor

by R. Gidon Rothstein 12 Adar Aleph: Tzitz Eliezer on Women Hearing Parashat Zachor In many shuls, Parashat Zachor offers an example of the alacrity with which Jews can fulfill mitzvot. Men and women make sure to hear the verses read, and shuls offer multiple readings, to help ensure all hear the words. As the questioner in Tzitz Eliezer 22;38 ...

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A Kohen At His Father’s Burial

by R. Gidon Rothstein 5 Adar: R. Hayyim David Halevy on a Kohen’s Involvement in a Father’s Burial A communal rabbi has to keep in mind that his congregants may come from different strands of Jewish custom. Shu”t Mekor Hayyim 2;65 offers a case where R. Hayyim David Halevy (whom we’ve seen until now through his Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav) ...

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Allowing A New Mother To Marry

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Shevat: Allowing A New Mother To Marry The responsibilities of motherhood can create complications for that mother, as happened in Shu”t Yabia Omer 9 Even HaEzer 15, from 28 Shevat 5760 (2000). The Talmud prohibited mothers from remarrying within two years of giving birth, for fear the new marriage would interfere with nursing the baby, ...

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Hebrew Accents

by R. Gidon Rothstein 14 Shevat: R. Kook on Hebrew Accents The 1930s saw a rise in Jews coming to Israel (from 1931 to 1948, Wikipedia tells me, the Jewish population grew from 175,000 to 630,000). That brought with it certain tensions, one of which R. Kook addressed in a letter to R. Uzziel from 14 Shevat 5695 (1935), published ...

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Non-Orthodox Marriages

by R. Gidon Rothstein 7 Shevat: Non-Orthodox Marriages People who don’t spend much of their time studying Torah don’t always stop to remember that halachah is also a legal system, where technicalities count. For an example that arises too often, if a woman is halachically married but then civilly divorced, she is still halachically married, which means that any children ...

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Women and Time-Related Commandments

by R. Gidon Rothstein 29 Tevet: R. Uzziel and Tzitz Eliezer on Women and Time-Related Commandments Two easy ways to describe how halachah differentiates men from women is to speak about women’s exemption from mitzvot ‘aseh she-hazman grama, obligations with a time component, and from the obligation of Talmud Torah, of studying Torah. There’s much more to it than that, ...

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