The Obligation to Honor Parents: Limits and Extensions

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Iyyar: Tzitz Eliezer on Limits and Extensions of the Obligation to Honor Parents Among other values, halachah reminds us of the limits of human intuition, the advisability of turning to a more objective source of insight than whatever we happen to think. Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer 12;59, dated 11 Iyyar (without a year), offers an enlightening example on a particularly thorny topic ...

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Vinegar Made in Wine-Flavored Casks

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Iyyar: R. Moshe Feinstein on Vinegar Made in Wine-Flavored Casks [Click here for the audio version.] Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Yoreh De’ah 2;36, dated 4 Iyyar 5722 (1962) starts with vinegar, and takes us of a tour of a few general rules of kashrut.  The Assistant Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg asked about the alcohol in it, produced in utensils previously used ...

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English Classes in a Yeshiva Setting

by R. Gidon Rothstein 27 Nisan: R, Ovadya Yosef on English Classes in a Yeshiva Setting [Click here for the audio version.] Jews place Torah at the center of their world, which often forces them to consider how best to confront or engage with other forms of wisdom. Shu”t Yabi’a Omer 7; Orach Chayyim 21, dated 27 Nisan 5748 (1988), takes up one instance. The Chief ...

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Taste of Chametz After Mid-Day of the 14th of Nisan

by R. Gidon Rothstein 13 Nisan: Avnei Nezer on Taste of Chametz After Mid-Day of the 14th of Nisan Click here for the audio version. Faced with an innovative idea offered by a great Torah scholar, you and I might not feel comfortable disputing it (or, worse, might feel overly comfortable, when we’re not qualified). On the other hand, qualified Torah scholars properly test whether an idea passes muster. ...

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Changing Mitzvah Customs

by R. Gidon Rothstein 5 Nisan: Netziv on Changing Mitzvah Customs Good deeds bring responsibilities as well as rewards. Halachah sometimes treats a person who performed a good deed more than once as if s/he swore or vowed to act that way always. Shu”t Meishiv Davar 2;48, dated 5 Nisan 5643 (1883), records the advice of Netziv (R. Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin) to a man who ...

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Waiting to Marry After Having Lived with a Non-Jew

by R. Gidon Rothstein Shabbat is RH Nisan; time to start reading As If We Were There: Readings for a Transformative Passover Experience. Transformative, that’s quite a bar! 28 Adar Sheni: R. Kook on Waiting to Marry After Having Lived with a Non-Jew [Click for the audio version.] Lineage matters to halachah, which leads halachah to require a woman to wait three months between relationships. The ...

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New Wedding Clothing for a Mourner

by R. Gidon Rothstein 21 Adar Sheni: Klausenberger Rebbe on New Wedding Clothing for a Mourner Shu”t Divrei Yatziv, Yoreh De’ah 237 and 239 are both dated 21 Adar Sheni 5730 (1970), the same day, and both advise a man in mourning for a parent how to conduct himself at his son’s wedding. The intervening responsum 238 also addresses mourning, whether ...

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Defining Residence for Purim

by R. Gidon Rothstein Since this responsum is about Purim, I don’t want to blur focus by mentioning my Pesach book As If We Were There (see what I did there?). Happy Purim! 14 Adar: R. Zvi Pesach Frank on Defining Residence for Purim In most years, 14 Adar is Purim, so few responsa are written on the date (true, 7 out ...

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Can a Shower Substitute for Mikveh for a Man?

by R. Gidon Rothstein I won’t make a full blown pitch each time, but a reminder: As If We Were There (if you don’t know what that means, email me!) 7 Adar Sheni: R. Wosner on Whether a Shower Can Substitute for Mikveh for a Man Although it’s less of a need than in a world without a Beit HaMikdash, some men today still immerse ...

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Necessary Supervision in Factories

by R. Gidon Rothstein A public service announcement, if I may. With the advent of Adar Sheni, we think of Purim and the Pesach which soon follows. Three years ago now, I published As If We Were There, a series of readings starting with the first of Nissan and continuing through Pesach, along with a memoir of my father’s wonderful Sedarim (the ...

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