Responsa

Seeing a Sefer Torah Dropped

by R. Gidon Rothstein 15 Av: R. Uzziel on Seeing a Sefer Torah Dropped When I was growing up, everyone knew that dropping a sefer Torah meant everyone in the room had to fast for forty days (when I first heard that, at maybe seven years old, I couldn’t understand how people could fast forty days and nights straight). I ...

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Using Money for a Different Purpose Than Raised

by R. Gidon Rothstein 8 Av: R. Ovadya Yosef on Using Money for a Different Purpose Than Raised In my searches for responsa on a given date, some respondents were so prolific that they appear almost daily, usually with multiple entries (such as Chatam Sofer, Shu”t Shoel ve-Nishal, and R. Moshe Feinstein). R. Ovadya Yosef, for all the volume of ...

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Inheriting Rabbinic Positions

by R. Gidon Rothstein 2 Av: Chatam Sofer on Inheriting Rabbinic Positions On the second of Av, 5580 (1820), Chatam Sofer 1 Orach Chayim 12 adjudicates a dispute about rabbinic succession. I hope I’m not being too gossipy in noting that Chatam Sofer makes a point of saying that he’s writing from where he’s gone for the better air (his ...

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Moving Burial Plots

by R. Gidon Rothstein 24 Tammuz: R. Moshe Feinstein on Moving Burial Plots About six weeks ago, we saw another responsum of R. Moshe Feinstein’s on exhuming a body. I[m coming to realize that in looking for a responsum written on each possible day of the Jewish calendar, I have to make a conscious effort to avoid defaulting to one ...

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Who’s A Kohen?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 17 Tammuz: Chatam Sofer on Who To Believe Who’s a Kohen A particular instance of a broader question afforded Chatam Sofer, Kovetz Teshuvot 60, the opportunity to enlighten us about how we know whom to treat as a kohen, and in what ways. The responsum, from 17 Tammuz, 5563 (1804) [meaning that Chatam Sofer spent at ...

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Burying Sacred Writings

by R. Gidon Rothstein 10 Tammuz: Tzitz Eliezer on Burying Kitvei Kodesh Tzit Eliezer 15;10 discusses a series of issues that start with an unusably worn-out Torah scroll. From the tenth of Tammuz 5741 (1981), this is the third letter he’s writing this man , who took issue with claims Tzitz Eliezer had made in an earlier essay [there is ...

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Calling a Blind Man to the Torah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 3 Tammuz: Masat Binyamin on a Blind Man Being Called to the Torah Not that I need more ways to be reminded of how little I know, but reading responsa literature repeatedly brings to mind authorities I have encountered less often than their impact on halachic thought deserves. For Masat Binyamin (that’s how the Bar-Ilan project ...

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Illegitimate, But Legal, Money

by R. Gidon Rothstein 26 Sivan: R. Hayyim David Halevy on Illegitimate, But Legal, Money In volume 2;68 of Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav, R. Hayyim David Halevy answers a letter from the 26th of Sivan [yes, for Aseh Lecha Rav, I have to use the date of the question, not the answer; it’s the price I pay to expand our ...

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Challenges of an International Get

by R. Gidon Rothstein 19 Sivan: R. Kook on the Challenges of an International Get On the 19th of Sivan, 5672/1912, R. Kook dealt with a problem we sometimes assume is only contemporary, a man who had gotten remarried before his first wife had received a get. Ezrat Kohen 82, a reply to R. Chaim Berlin (Netziv’s oldest son, rabbi of ...

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Exhuming and Burning a Body for Reburial

by R. Gidon Rothstein 12 Sivan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Exhuming and Burning a Body for Reburial Death and burial are emotional. Into such a situation was R. Moshe Feinstein asked to wade, in Iggerot Moshe Yoreh De’ah 4;56, dated 12 Sivan 5741 (1981). A deceased Jewish man had been buried in a Russian cemetery, the Soviets having outlawed separate ...

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