Author Archives: Gidon Rothstein

Competing Rabbis

by R. Gidon Rothstein 20 Kislev: Chatam Sofer on Competing Rabbis Capitalist countries assume that competition challenges people to do their best, leading to improved products at cheaper prices. True as that is in many areas, halachah did not see it as an unmitigated good, and developed the idea of hassagat gevul, encroaching boundaries, occasions when it’s unacceptable to compete with the person already filling ...

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Stepping Right, Stepping Wrong

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Vayishlach: Stepping Right, Stepping Wrong Ramban opens his commentary on Vayishlach (32;4) by telling us it’s meant to inform us that Hashem saved his servant from a stronger foe (Esav), and to teach us that Ya’akov did not rely on his righteousness, but made all the attempts he could to save himself. His specific strategies are ...

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Becoming a Firefighter

by R. Gidon Rothstein 6 Kislev: Tzitz Eliezer on Becoming a Firefighter One of the blessed challenges of a renewed Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is that it brings up questions of how an halachic Judaism can function in a full working society. Tzitz Eliezer 7;20, dated 6 Kislev 5722 (1961) takes up one such challenge. The rabbi of Pardes Channah, R. Yehoshua Zelig Diskin, ...

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Mussaf with a Minyan or Shacharit First

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Cheshvan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Mussaf with a Minyan or Shacharit First There may be people who have never come late to shul; for the rest of us, hard questions arise. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayyim 4;68, dated 28 Marcheshvan 5750 (1979), deals with a person who comes to shul when the community is already up to Mussaf, the additional prayer on Shabbat and holidays. ...

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Finding Our Way to Hashem, Or Not

by R. Gidon Rothstein Seeking Hashem’s Truth In the beginning of the parsha, Yitzchak and Rivkah struggle with infertility. When she finally becomes pregnant, the fetuses move around inside her, causing her enough trouble that in 25;22, va-telech lidrosh et Hashem, she went to inquire of Hashem. Rashi thought she went to the Beit Midrash of Shem [for Rashi, the place to ...

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Unsupervised Meat

by R. Gidon Rothstein 21 Cheshvan: Chacham Zvi on Meat Left Without Supervision We outsource much about kashrut, especially regarding meat. We walk into a kosher butcher, supervised by a rabbi or organization we trust, buy meat, go home and prepare and eat it. That has many advantages, since almost all the people involved in the process are more familiar with the relevant halachot than ...

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