Rav Gidon

Mostly Tzara’at, with a Splash of Childbirth

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tazria What Color is Yarok? In modern Hebrew, yarok means green, so when Vayikra 13;49 says a nega on clothing might look yerakrak, I had no doubt we meant green. R. Mecklenburg disagreed. First, he says yerakrak means strongly yarok, then defines “strongly” with a twist: were we to combine all the yarok shades, this ...

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Jews We Can No Longer Trust

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tazri’a: Yoreh De’ah 119, Jews We Can No Longer Trust Yoreh De’ah 119 takes up a topic probably more relevant today even than in AH’s time, Jews we can and cannot trust on halachic issues. There are twenty se’ifim in SA, fifty-five in AH, so we’re not going to finish it this week, and next ...

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Limits and Their Limits

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Shemini Tum’ah To Avoid I guess I assumed HaKetav VeHaKabbalah was largely a rationalist, I think because he quotes nontraditional readers of Torah and is invested in showing how Chazal’s reading of verses fits the plain sense of the text. I guess I also assumed (the danger of assumptions!) rationalists treat tum’ah as a Torah ...

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Our Bodies, Our Prayers

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Shemini: Orach Chayyim 95 and 97 These chapters of AH are short enough to do two this time, expand our perspective of how our bodies do and should support our prayers. Our Feet Together Siman 95 starts with the idea of placing our feet right next to each other during prayer, to emulate the angels ...

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Bread, Hides, and Sanctity

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tzav What Shape is a Challah? While inducting Aharon and his sons into the kehunah, Moshe takes a challat matzah echat, one challah of matzah (and one challah of lechem shemen, but that’s not the focus here), VaYikra 8;26. R. Mecklenburg refers to two Aramaic Targumim, Onkelos and Yonatan b. Uziel, who agree challah should ...

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Rules of Legal Documents

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Tzav We don’t much write shetarot, legal documents, anymore, other than a ketubah when getting married and (if we need to) a get for divorce. For business dealings, I suspect we tend to use local contract law. Making Choshen Mishpat 61 largely irrelevant in most cases. I chose to summarize it here nonetheless for its ...

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Grappling with Unwitting Sin

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYikra Vidui Doesn’t Mean Confess, Says R. Mecklenburg The Torah tells us the Jew who brings a sacrifice to atone must ve-hitvadah, Vayikra 5;5, a word I think almost universally assumed to mean admit or articulate the sin, what we call vidui. This reading assumes the root le-hodot, such as to concede a claim (hodah ...

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Wedding Witnesses, Valid, Invalid, and In Between

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat VaYikra As I summarized and skipped our way through the first twenty-eight paragraphs of AH Even Ha-Ezer 42 last time, I omitted a couple of points I now think I should have shared. What We Know, Regardless of Law First, in se’if nineteen, AH brings up a topic we often avoid for its distastefulness, a ...

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Completing a National Project

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parashat Pekudei Cloud of Glory, Restored HaKetav VeHaKabbalah’s comment to 40;38 mostly echoes a passage in Aderet Eliyahu 34;10, by the Vilna Gaon [maybe this doesn’t interest you, but I only just paid attention to the fact that R. Mecklenburg quotes the Vilna Gaon often, even though Aderet Eliyahu was first printed, as far as I ...

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Consent and Witnesses for Kiddushin

by R. Gidon Rothstein Parshat Pekudei Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 42 has five paragraphs, where Aruch HaShulchan has fifty-one. I will try to capture essential points of AH’s presentation, as we figure out what is needed to produce a valid kiddushin, the first stage of marital connection between a man and woman. Consent, Full and Pressured Within the broad agreement ...

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