Are We Doing Converts A Favor?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 25 Elul: R. Herzog on Whether We Are Doing Converts a Favor The 25th of Elul is the anniversary of a responsum R. Yitzchak Herzog wrote (Heichal Yitzchak Even haEzer 1;20) whose topic was conversion, with ramifications for our looming confrontation with Gd on the High Holidays, the Yamim Nora’im. The question is about a Jewish man who had lived for ...

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Teshuvot In a Geometric Progression

by R. Gidon Rothstein Teshuvot In a Geometric Progression: R. Moshe Feinstein on 18 Elul R. Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, wrote four teshuvot on the 18th of Elul two, four, and eight years apart (by the time sixteen years had passed, when he was due to write the next one, he had passed away).  Let me briefly review them. Younger Brother ...

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A Hazzan/Shohet with Seizures

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Elul: Hatam Sofer on a Hazzan/Shohet with Seizures and on Choosing Poor to Support Medical challenges affect patients and families in ways beyond the directly physical. Shu”t Hatam Sofer 2; Yoreh De’ah 7, dated 11 Elul 5528 (1827), addresses a hazzan/shohet in a certain locale [I think this was a common pairing, neither job paying ...

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Mechitzah Minyan in a Non-Mechitzah Shul

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Elul: R. Moshe Feinstein on a Mechitzah Minyan in a Non-Mechitzah Shul We often fail to remember battles of our past, when dedicated Jews, rabbis and not, stood against the tide in the name of proper fulfillment of the Torah. Jews have had to deal with pressure to convert from ascendant Christians, from thriving Karaite ...

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Some Limits on Saving Lives

by R. Gidon Rothstein 26 Av: R. Moshe Feinstein on Some Limits on Saving Lives [Click here for the audio version. I note I had been taking the Wednesday responsum each week; for this week, I thought this Tuesday one more immediately interesting, and as I am soon bringing this project to a close, thought it worthwhile to shift the ...

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What’s Included in a Partnership

by R. Gidon Rothstein 20 Av: Chatam Sofer on What’s Included in a Partnership My father, a”h, was a corporate lawyer for much of his life, and I remember him telling me corporate law sought to make the terms of deals clear ahead of time, to avoid misunderstandings and recriminations later. Shu”t Chatam Sofer 5; Choshen Mishpat 96, dated 20 ...

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We Can’t Lie Under Oath

by R. Gidon Rothstein 13 Av: Noda BiYehuda Opposing Lying Under Oath Jewish law includes loopholes, some of which might seem to allow Jews to interact with non-Jews in ways we ordinarily think of as unethical, especially if the Jews convince themselves the non-Jews in question count as idolaters. As important and sometimes forgotten counterbalance, Jewish law and thought also ...

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Making a Brachah on Stolen and Other Prohibited Foods

by R. Gidon Rothstein This past Shabbat, I was describing my ongoing study of my database or responsa and noted again how surprised I had been to find an author as early as Bach, R. Yoel Sirkes (known by the acronym for the name of his commentary on Tur, Bayit Chadash), date his responsa. This time’s example, Shu”t Ba”ch HaChadashot ...

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Using Crutches or a Wheelchair on Shabbat

by R. Gidon Rothstein Halachah is also a formal legal system, meaning we can only reach a desired conclusion if we can find systemically legitimate reasons to get us there. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayyim 4;90, dated 28 Tammuz, 5732 (1972), gives us an example. The questioner wanted to allow the use of crutches on Shabbat; R. Feinstein empathized with ...

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