Cotton and Shemittah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 27 Tishrei: RSZA on Cotton and Shemittah [Click for the audio version]. We don’t get to see R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s responsa as often as I’d like, so I took advantage of the opportunity provided by Shu”t Minchat Shlomo Tinyana 119, dated 27 Tishrei 5727 (1966). R. Auerbach is writing to R. Yehoshu’a Moshe Aaronson, an expert in the halachot of agriculture from ...

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Writing Torah Insights on Chol HaMoed

by R. Gidon Rothstein 19 Tishrei: Mishneh Halachot on Writing Chiddushei Torah on Chol HaMoed Chol HaMo’ed of both Pesach and Sukkot has been the hardest time for me to find responsa, and Shu”t Mishneh Halachot 3;76 (undated, but it’s the best I could do) gives us one reason. R. Menashe Klein had dated responsum 53 in that volume of his responsa to the first day of Chol HaMo’ed Pesach, ...

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Remarrying Without a Get or Heter Meah Rabbanim

by R. Gidon Rothstein 14 Tishrei: R. Ovadya Yosef on Remarrying Without a Get or Heter Meah Rabbanim The plight of women whose husbands refuse to authorize the writing and delivery of a get after the marriage is obviously over deservedly garners the lion’s share of communal attention to problems of halachic divorce. Still, men can have a similar problem. A longstanding ordinance called cherem Rabbenu Gershom, the ban of ...

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Issues of Kodshim

by R. Gidon Rothstein 29 Elul: R. Moshe Feinstein on Issues of Kodshim For the sixteen years before he moved to the United States, R. Moshe Feinstein was rabbi in Luban, a town in Belarus, and some of the responsa he wrote in Luban he included in Shu”t Iggerot Moshe (which he started publishing only fifteen years after he arrived in the United ...

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Burial in a Mausoleum

by R. Gidon Rothstein 14 Elul: R. Moshe Feinstein on Burial in a Mausoleum Exile periodically lures Jews to adopt non-Jewish values, and then demand the community respect their right to act on those foreign ways of life. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Yoreh De’ah 3; 143 and 144 (144 is dated 14 Elul 5732 (1972)), advises the rabbis of Cleveland on how to respond ...

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by R. Gidon Rothstein 7 Elul: Chatam Sofer on What Is a Petzua Daka Devarim 23;2 excludes from marriage a petzu’a daka, a man whose reproductive organs have been injured or destroyed. In Shu”t Chatam Sofer 3; Even HaEzer 19, dated 7 Elul 5585 (1814), Chatam Sofer sought a way to allow a man who apparently sustained an injury to those private areas continue living with his wife. The ...

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Commitments Betrayed

by R. Gidon Rothstein 1st Day RH Elul: Chatam Sofer on Commitments Betrayed Capitalism dislikes the market inefficiencies of monopolies, which might color our reading of Shu”t Chatam Sofer 2; Yoreh De’ah 9, dated the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul 5598 (1838). The only shochet, ritual slaughterer, in a certain area had allowed another shochet to join him, with terms and conditions which recognized his monopolistic rights to shechitah in that region. ...

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Grafting That Isn’t Kilayim

by R. Gidon Rothstein 23 Av: Chatam Sofer on Grafting That Isn’t Kilayim [Click here for the audio version].    Shu”t Chatam Sofer 2; Yoreh De’ah 287, dated 23 Menachem Av 5575 (1815), shows practical farming questions arose in halachah even before Jews returned to Israel and took up agriculture. The questioner noticed people in his area had a technique for planting ahal or shoshanim (ahal is either aloe or agarwood; shoshanah often refers to roses, ...

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When Marriages Do and Don’t End

by R. Gidon Rothstein 16 Av: Netziv and R. Yitzchak Elchanan on When Marriages Do and Don’t End [Click for the audio version] To divorce his wife, a man must have da’at, the mental competence to authorize the court and scribe to write and deliver the document of divorce on his behalf, Shu”t Meishiv Davar 4;48, dated 16 Menachem Av 5636 (1876), records R. Naftali Tzvi Yehudah Berlin ...

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The Obligation to Learn Torah on Tish’a B’Av

by R. Gidon Rothstein 9 Av: Klausenberger Rebbe on the Obligation to Learn Torah on Tish’a B’Av I should not be able to find responsa dated the ninth of Av, Tish’a B’Av, since it’s a day when Jews are not supposed to learn ordinary Torah. Most people assume the permissibility of learning devarim ha-ra’im, sad or depressing areas of Torah (such as Eichah, the ...

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