Israel as the Jewish Home

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Shofetim, Week One: Some Expressions of Israel as the Jewish Home Life is in Israel Two comments of Ramban’s remind us of his view—which has halachic ramifications—that the Jewish people is meant to live in Israel, a life demonstrably richer there than elsewhere. דברים טז:יח שֹׁפְטִ֣ים וְשֹֽׁטְרִ֗ים תִּֽתֶּן־לְךָ֙ בְּכָל־שְׁעָרֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְקֹוָ֧ק אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְךָ֖ ...

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Following Orders

by R. Gidon Rothstein 22 Sivan: R. Hayyim David Halevy on Following Orders Observant Jews periodically are challenged when authorities other than Hashem ask or demand that they act in ways that run counter to what Hashem has told them. In Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 7;68, R. Hayyim David Halevy deals with that question in the context of the Israeli ...

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Avoiding False Prophets, Hearing From Hashem

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Re’eh, Week Two: Avoiding False Prophets, Hearing From Hashem דברים יג:ב כִּֽי־יָק֤וּם בְּקִרְבְּךָ֙ נָבִ֔יא א֖וֹ חֹלֵ֣ם חֲל֑וֹם וְנָתַ֥ן אֵלֶ֛יךָ א֖וֹת א֥וֹ מוֹפֵֽת:  (ג) וּבָ֤א הָאוֹת֙ וְהַמּוֹפֵ֔ת אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אֵלֶ֖יךָ לֵאמֹ֑ר נֵֽלְכָ֞ה אַחֲרֵ֨י אֱלֹהִ֧ים אֲחֵרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יְדַעְתָּ֖ם וְנָֽעָבְדֵֽם: (ד) לֹ֣א תִשְׁמַ֗ע אֶל־דִּבְרֵי֙ הַנָּבִ֣יא הַה֔וּא א֛וֹ אֶל־חוֹלֵ֥ם הַחֲל֖וֹם הַה֑וּא כִּ֣י מְנַסֶּ֞ה יְקֹוָ֤ק אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם לָדַ֗עַת הֲיִשְׁכֶ֤ם אֹֽהֲבִים֙ ...

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Mikveh on Shabbat Night

by R. Gidon Rothstein 15 Sivan: Bach on Going to Mikveh Early on Friday Night/Shabbat It is an occasional pleasure to find a responsum from relatively early in our history (with a date on it, so it can be included in this collection). This time, we get to learn from R. Yoel Sirkis, known as Bach, the acronym of Bayit ...

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Using Our Wisdom in Serving Hashem

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban to Re’eh, Week One: Using Our Wisdom in Serving Hashem After the Torah tells the Jews to destroy the multitude of places where idolaters worshiped alien powers, it warns against treating Hashem that way. Rather, דברים יב:ה : כִּ֠י אִֽם־אֶל־הַמָּק֞וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יִבְחַ֨ר יְקֹוָ֤ק אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ מִכָּל־שִׁבְטֵיכֶ֔ם לָשׂ֥וּם אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ שָׁ֑ם לְשִׁכְנ֥וֹ תִדְרְשׁ֖וּ וּבָ֥אתָ שָֽׁמָּה: Devarim 12;5: Only to ...

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Why Torah Scholars May or May Not Visit the Ill

by R. Gidon Rothstein 8 Sivan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Why Torah Scholars May or May Not Visit the Ill In my experience, many people take umbrage at the idea that a Torah scholar would stand on his honor. However, halachah explicitly exempts (and, perhaps, discourages or forbids) Torah scholars from certain otherwise obligatory actions for exactly that reason. Iggerot ...

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The Mysteries of Cause and Effect

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban, Parshat Ekev, Week Two: The Mysteries of Cause and Effect When Did Hashem Select the Levi’im? דברים י:ח בָּעֵ֣ת הַהִ֗וא הִבְדִּ֤יל יְקֹוָק֙ אֶת־שֵׁ֣בֶט הַלֵּוִ֔י לָשֵׂ֖את אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן בְּרִית־יְקֹוָ֑ק … Devarim 10;8: At that time, Hashem separated the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the Covenant of Hashem… The opening phrase of the verse times ...

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Levirate Marriage Today

by R. Gidon Rothstein RH Sivan: R. Ovadya Yosef Permitting a Yibum Looking to unify a nation of Jews with diverse practices brings challenges, and some will lean more towards imposing unity, others towards tolerating diversity. Yabia Omer 8; Even HaEzer 26 shows an example of R. Ovadya Yosef opting for diversity in a remarkable way. Dated Rosh Chodesh Sivan ...

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The Hidden Drama We Can Easily Miss

by R. Gidon Rothstein Ramban To Ekev, Week One: The Hidden Drama We Can Easily Miss Helps Society Function On the first verse of Parshat Ekev (7;12) דברים ז:יב וְהָיָ֣ה׀ עֵ֣קֶב תִּשְׁמְע֗וּן אֵ֤ת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֖ם אֹתָ֑ם וְשָׁמַר֩ יְקֹוָ֨ק אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ לְךָ֗ אֶֽת־הַבְּרִית֙ וְאֶת־הַחֶ֔סֶד אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לַאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ: Devarim 7;12:  And it will be, in return for your hearkening to these ...

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Forcing the Divorce of an Unfaithful Woman

by R. Gidon Rothstein 23 Iyyar: Noda BiYehuda on Forcing the Divorce of an Unfaithful Woman How able are rabbinic courts to stop wrongdoing in their midst? In a responsum dated 23 Iyyar 5540 (1780), Noda BiYehuda Tinyana Even HaEzer 159 addresses a community that thought they had identified an adulteress, and wanted to force her and her husband to ...

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