Detecting an Affair

by R. Gidon Rothstein Two Teshuvot from 25 Cheshvan: Tzitz Eliezer on Detecting an Affair The desire to “win” a divorce leads some people to make every effort to twist and use the legal system however they can, and courts are not always as adept as we’d like them to be at catching on. Two responsa of Tzitz Eliezer with a 25 Cheshvan connection show him ...

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What Avraham Taught the World

by R. Gidon Rothstein What Avraham Taught the World R. Arama starts his she’arim with a brief summary of what he intends to tell us. Here, he plans to make a point about Shabbat and its role in teaching us important truths of the world, but makes a digression I found too enlightening to pass up. The Value of the First Six ...

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Beit Din At A Conversion Immersion

by R. Gidon Rothstein 18 Cheshvan: R. Ovadya Yosef on the Beit Din Being Present for a Conversion Immersion The final step of conversion to Judaism has the convert immerse in a mikveh (ritual bath), an immersion which must be witnessed by the overseeing rabbinical court. This simple halachic fact presents obvious complications when the convert is a woman. Shu”t Yabi’a Omer 1; Yoreh De’ah 19, dated ...

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People as the Center of the World

by R. Gidon Rothstein ‘Akedat Yitzchak, Third Sha’ar (Conclusion, Week of 13 MarCheshvan): People as the Center of the World We’re up to the creation of humanity in R. Arama’s review of the ten sayings of creation in the first chapter of Bereshit. He thinks Hashem intended people to unite the upper worlds and lower ones, by combining aspects of both.   Bereshit Rabbah 8 portrayed ...

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Wedding Pictures at the Kotel

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Cheshvan: R. Hayyim David HaLevi on Taking Wedding Pictures at the Kotel People can mistake sanctity of a place, kedushat makom, for some kind of magical power rather than a venue for closer relationship with Hashem.Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 6;43, dated 11 Cheshvan 5745 (1984; it’s unusual for R. Hayyim David Halevy to date his responsa. Usually, he ...

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From Raki’a to Animals, Sayings of Creation Two Through Seven

by R. Gidon Rothstein Third Sha’ar (Continued): From Raki’a to Animals, Sayings of Creation Two Through Seven The second statement of creation in R. Arama’s count called the raki’a into existence, which we translate as the firmament. R. Arama notes the view of R. Isaac Israeli, an early fourteenth century Spanish astronomer, whose Yesod ‘Olam defined raki’a in a way ...

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RSZA on Time of Death, Brain Death, and Organ Transplants

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Cheshvan: RSZA on Time of Death, Brain Death, and Organ Transplants In Shu”t Minchat Shelomo Tinyana (2-3) 86, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (RSZA) gathered several short responsa into one chapter, with different pieces carrying different dates. One is dated 4 Marcheshvan 5753 (1992), giving us the opportunity to learn some more from this great Torah ...

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Starting the Ten Steps of Creation

by R. Gidon Rothstein Continuing the Third Sha’ar: Starting the Ten Steps of Creation R. Arama is ready to read the first chapter of Bereshit with us (which, conveniently, we just read last week in shul, so we hopefully have these passages more in mind than we might usually), to find the “ten sayings” a Mishnah in Avot said Hashem used to create the world. As ...

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Cotton and Shemittah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 27 Tishrei: RSZA on Cotton and Shemittah [Click for the audio version]. We don’t get to see R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s responsa as often as I’d like, so I took advantage of the opportunity provided by Shu”t Minchat Shlomo Tinyana 119, dated 27 Tishrei 5727 (1966). R. Auerbach is writing to R. Yehoshu’a Moshe Aaronson, an expert in the halachot of agriculture from ...

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Writing Torah Insights on Chol HaMoed

by R. Gidon Rothstein 19 Tishrei: Mishneh Halachot on Writing Chiddushei Torah on Chol HaMoed Chol HaMo’ed of both Pesach and Sukkot has been the hardest time for me to find responsa, and Shu”t Mishneh Halachot 3;76 (undated, but it’s the best I could do) gives us one reason. R. Menashe Klein had dated responsum 53 in that volume of his responsa to the first day of Chol HaMo’ed Pesach, ...

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