Joke Kiddushin

by R. Gidon Rothstein 14 Tammuz: Chatam Sofer on Joke Kiddushin The pomp with which Jews marry today mean we can be confident the couple involved truly intended to be married. Halachically, however, a kiddushin can occur any time a man gives a woman an item of value and says the required formula in front of two witnesses. Shu”t Chatam Sofer 3; Even Ha-‘Ezer 1;80, dated ...

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Why People Circumcise Themselves, and the Benefits They Gain

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzchak, Eighteenth Sha’ar, Second Part Humans Should Take the World to Its Next Level Tanchuma Tazria records a conversation between Turnus Rufus (a Roman officer) and R. Akiva. However they get there, R. Akiva ends up telling Turnus Rufus the foreskin cut off during circumcision is excess (R. Arama compared it to hair or fingernails, body ...

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Shabbat Clocks, Electric Lights for Chanukkah, and Hearing Mitzvot Over the Telephone

by R. Gidon Rothstein 7 Tammuz: Tzitz Eliezer on Shabbat Clocks, Electric Lights for Chanukkah, and Hearing Mitzvot Over the Telephone Technology benefits and challenges halachic observance. Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer 20;19, dated 7 Tammuz 5702 (1942) hearkens back to technologies now old hat, but still offer insight into how we can or cannot let such advances impact our practice. The responsum originated in three issues a ...

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Audio Roundup 2019:27

by Joel Rich Why are the rules for which days we don’t say tachanun not parallel to those for not saying lamenatzeach? Question: When the gemara has an Ibaye d’lo Ifshita (unresolved question), is the practical halachic process going forward any different from one where it closes with teiku? If so, how? Rabbi Nosson Rich-Mishna Berura Yomi: Hilchos Eruvin 345-8 ...

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People as the Purpose of Creation

by R. Gidon Rothstein ‘Akedat Yitzchak , Eighteenth Sha’ar People as the Purpose of Creation R. Arama says this sha’ar will explain the purpose of creation, then adds asher navochu bo rabim, which has confused many. He will also explain how milah, circumcision, completes man’s perfection. In support of the point, he opens with Nedarim 31b-32a, where a string oftannaim speak of the greatness of circumcision. ...

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Celebrating Thanksgiving

by R. Gidon Rothstein First Day RH Tammuz: R. Moshe Feinstein on Celebrating Thanksgiving I had my bris and Bar-Mitzvah on Thanksgiving Day, with no control over the timing of the former, and relatively little on the latter. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Yoreh De’ah 4;12, dated first day of Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5741 (1981), takes up how Jews should relate to Thanksgiving festivities. (This responsum ...

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Avraham Makes Strides to Understanding and Excellence

by R. Gidon Rothstein Seventeenth Sha’ar, Second Part Avraham’s Path Starts with Generosity Avraham starts with generosity, the trait R. Arama identified last time as a building block for many other positive traits. R. Arama notes Avraham’s treatment of Lot and the king of Sodom, without elaborating. I think he means he lets Lot choose whichever part of Israel he ...

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Forms

by R. Gil Student 23 Sivan: R. Moshe Feinstein’s Forms Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Choshen Mishpat 3;30 reproduces several forms R. Moshe Feinstein used in his personal life and/or wrote for others, the last of which was dated 23 Sivan 5731 (1971). I am charmed by the goodwill in the gesture—these forms do not show his creative halachic thought, no one ...

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The Traits of Perfection Are Inextricably Intertwined

by R. Gidon Rothstein Akedat Yitzchak, Seventeenth Sha’ar, First Part All or Nothing Perfection R. Arama tells us he plans to make two points in the seventeenth sha’ar. First, admirable qualities are not separate from mitzvot, and, second, Avraham was shown the spiritual rewards for goodness, which became part of his belief in Hashem. The Midrash he cites to start ...

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