Pri Megadim

Petihah Kollelet, Third Part, Letters 5-8: Objection, Attention, Intention

by R. Gidon Rothstein Last time, we began to see the role of kavannah, intention or awareness of what one is doing, in mitzvot. It started with mitzvot of speech, which Peri Megadim held clearly need more awareness than ordinary mitzvah actions. Before he comes back to that, he detours briefly to note Magen Avraham 60;3 said rabbinic mitzvot in general did not need kavannah, evidence to Peri Megadim that Magen Avraham must have thought Megillah ...

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Petihah Kollelet: Part Three, Letters 1-4, Kinds and Levels of Mitzvot

by R. Gidon Rothstein A long time ago (before Rosh Hodesh Elul, before we completely changed ourselves through repentance), we were studying Peri Megadim’s Petihah Kollelet. We finished the first two parts, and now return to study the three parts left, two of them substantive, the last one a short set of additional notes to the previous four. I’m hoping to finish all this ...

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The People of Halachah

by R. Gidon Rothstein Part Two of Peri Megadim’s Petihah Kollelet: The People of Halachah I take piece by piece projects partially in the belief they bring us to a larger whole, we see a greater overall structure. In the case at hand, I think Peri Megadim’s list of those with halachic differences, each piece of which taught us much, combine to show he was looking ...

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Finishing the Second Part of the Petihah Kollelet

by R. Gidon Rothstein We have a few categories left in Peri Megadim’s list of unusual Jews, each treated briefly. Notably, he does not discuss the “ordinary” Jew, nor the differences between Kohanim, Levi’im, and Yisre’elim. It reminds me of the story of two younger fish who swim by an older one, the latter says “how’s the water today, boys?” After ...

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Petihah Kollelet: Half Slaves and Tumtum

by R. Gidon Rothstein The category of the half-slave provides a good test case for many halachic issues, because the person is partially a Jew and partially a servant. One way this can happen is if partners own a servant together, and one frees him or her. The idea has inspired significantly more halachic discussion than I suspect it deserves in terms of frequency of ...

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Petihah Kollelet: Women, Shared Responsibility, Then Servants

by R. Gidon Rothstein Who Is Responsible for Whom Peri Megadim here again returns to arevut, the question of how interconnected Jews are in their mitzvah observance, a topic he took up a few times in the first part of the Petihah Kollelet (for example, regarding whether it applies to the Oral Law and/or to rabbinic law). For women—and converts, he adds—he wonders about ...

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Children and Women as Halachic Categories of Jews

by R. Gidon Rothstein Peri Megadim Petihah Kollelet : Finishing Children, Moving On to Women A Physically Undeveloped Twelve/Thirteen Year Old Last time, we finished with when we decide a person has become an adult despite never developing physical signs of adulthood, male or female, nor signs of being a man or woman who will never develop. I should have pointed ...

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Some Complications of Children

by R. Gidon Rothstein Peri Megadim: Some Complications of Children Children are still developing into adults and therefore officially exempt from mitzvot. Peri Megadim points out one quick divergence from the prior two categories, a child’s father is supposed to stop the child from engaging in prohibited activities, as hinuch, the rabbinic obligation to educate, an idea some of whose ins and outs we ...

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Defining a Shoteh, Revisiting a Heresh

by R. Gidon Rothstein We should be discussing the next type of halachic person, the shoteh, commonly thought of as a person who is not in his/her right mind. We will, but be forewarned Peri Megadim will take us back to heresh for comparisons. (A better person than I would have read and absorbed the entire second part of this Petihah Kollelet, reordered it more straightforwardly and then ...

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Lacking One Sense, Not Two: The Deaf or the Mute, for Peri Megadim

by R. Gidon Rothstein We will see many exceptions, so let us stress the rule at the outset: a Jew lacking either the ability to hear or to speak counts as a full halachic adult. Granting our sometime need to verify his/her mental competence, and areas where his/her disability will prevent full participation, halachah assumes a person either deaf or mute is an ordinary ...

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