Responsa

Counting Jews

by R. Gidon Rothstein 24 Nisan: Chatam Sofer on Counting Jews In tough times, it’s easy to get caught up in the big picture and ignore details of halachah. Chatam Sofer’s Kovetz Teshuvot 8, dated 24 Nisan 5598 (1838), he answered a question about a detail of how to keep records of who was given what charitable donation. He starts by acknowledging the tough times these ...

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Fraudulent Communal Elections

by R. Gidon Rothstein 18 Nisan: R. Hayyim David Halevy on Fraudulent Communal Elections What happens when there’s fraud in a voting process? It’s a question that arose for R. Hayyim David Halevy, Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 2;63, in a letter written to him on the eighteenth of Nisan. Power That Wants to Stay in Power The questioner was spokesperson for a ...

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Proper Care For Others’ Items

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Nisan: R. Moshe Feinstein on What Constitutes Proper Care For Others’ Items Watching other people’s property brings various levels of responsibilities, and the standard of care is sometimes whatever the person could be expected to anticipate. In Iggerot Moshe, Choshen Mishpat 1;69, dated the fourth of Nisan 5722 (1962), R. Moshe Feinstein explained how that ...

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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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