by R. Gidon Rothstein 6 Shevat: Tzitz Eliezer on Autopsies Are autopsies permitted? In the young State of Israel (Tzitz Eliezer 4;14 is dated 6 Shevat, 5712, 1952), the Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Herzog, raised this question (it would be a continuing issue for decades, Israeli doctors pushing for expanded rights to perform more autopsies, rabbinic opinion pushing back) and asked ...

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Letting Moslems Have Space in a Jewish Cemetery

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Tevet: Letting Moslems Have Space in a Jewish Cemetery Questions come to meshivim from near and far. The ones  that come from distant places, often from people known to the respondent only from the letter, obligate the rabbi to be careful to take into account the possibility that there relevant factors are unmentioned in the ...

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Key Money

by R. Gidon Rothstein 21 Tevet: Tzitz Eliezer on Key Money For a long time, Israeli law prevented owners from forcing renters out of their apartments. That led to a system where renters often took a hefty fee for assigning their lease (which the owner couldn’t ever break) to another renter. The money paid was called “key money,” for getting ...

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Doubtful Kehunah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 14 Tevet: Doubtful Kehunah As the Rav, R. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, z”l, pointed out in Halachic Man, halachah builds an a priori picture of life, which halachic people then work to apply and actualize to the world around us. Since that world isn’t always or perhaps often shaped by those who share that interest, there can ...

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Turning a Destroyed Shul Into a Parking Lot

by R. Gidon Rothstein 7 Tevet: R. Ovadya Yosef on Turning a Destroyed Shul Into a Parking Lot On the seventh of Tevet, 5741 (1980), in Yabia Omer 8; Orach Chayyim 16, R. Ovadya Yosef answered a question from the Chief Rabbi of Vienna regarding a shul that had been destroyed on Kristallnacht, that for various reasons could not be ...

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Casualties of War and Yibum

by R. Gidon Rothstein 29 Kislev: Tzitz Eliezer on Casualties of War and Yibum The year 5708 (1947-48) is best known as when the State of Israel declared independence, with all the wonders that ensued. The series of letters Tzitz Eliezer reproduces in 3;26 show how much the shadow of the Holocaust loomed over them prior to that. The first ...

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A Woman Who Left Judaism and Returned

by R. Gidon Rothstein 22 Kislev: Noda BiYehuda on Yibum for a Woman Who Left Judaism and Returned We assume, mostly correctly, that the 19th century was when a largely traditional community, in which almost all Jews identified with the observant community, shifted to one where many or most were no longer observant. But the winds of change began brewing ...

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Converting a Woman Already Married to a Kohen

by R. Gidon Rothstein 15 Kislev (5722) : R. Moshe Feinstein on Converting a Woman Already Married to a Kohen Remembering What’s Supposed to Be When life presents less than optimal circumstances, we try to respond as generously as we can. That’s as it should be, but it can lead to forgetting the optimal circumstances, such that we’re not sure ...

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Rav Kook on Nidui and Cherem

by R. Gidon Rothstein 8 Kislev: R. Kook on Nidui and Cherem On the eighth of Kislev, 5676 (1915), R. Kook, Shu”t Da’at Kohen Yoreh De’ah 193, responded to a rabbi in Basel about whether he could punish a shul by not giving speeches there (because in 1915 in Basel, a rabbi refusing to give Divrei Torah was experienced as ...

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Invalidating a Gift

by R. Gidon Rothstein First Day Rosh Chodesh Kislev: R. Chaim Berlin on Invalidating a Gift One of the pleasures of a series like this is that it allows us to get to know, a bit, rabbinic figures we might not otherwise. The name of R. Chaim Berlin is one I’ve known since childhood, since my father, a”h, studied in ...

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