Responsa

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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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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Shushan Purim of 1949

by R. Gidon Rothstein 16 Adar: When to Observe Shushan Purim of 1949 [This responsum is an example of an error I made in gathering responsa for this project: although we tend to treat the second Adar as the “real” one for purposes other than observing a yahrzeit (as my friend R. Shmuel Hain recently pointed out), I grouped Adar responsa from years with ...

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Seances

by R. Gidon Rothstein 9 Adar: R. Kook on Seances Starting in the mid-1800s, spiritism became a hot topic, particularly seances. On 9 Adar, 5672 (1912, showing how long the “fad” lasted), R. Kook was asked about the halachic issues involved, and he answered in Shu”t Da’at Kohen 69. Distinctions and Their Value Spoiler alert: Jews may not perform seances. The conclusion may be clear ...

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Including Non-Religious Jews in a Minyan, and Its Discontents

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Shevat: Including Non-Religious Jews in a Minyan, and Its Discontents On the 11th of Shevat, 5712 (1952), R. Yitzchak Herzog, z”l, the first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, wrote Shu”t Heichal Yitschak Orach Chayim 2, to R. Ib Nathan Bamberger. R. Bamberger was one of the Jews whom local Danes had ferried to Sweden in fishing ...

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Kaddish for a Teenaged Child

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Shevat: Tzitz Eliezer on Saying Kaddish for a Teenaged Child Seemingly insensitive questions can lead to illuminating Torah nonetheless. On 4 Shevat 5756 (1996), Tzitz Eliezer 22;17 answered a man who objected to a father saying kaddish for his deceased teenager. Our instinct (or, maybe, my instinct; I don’t want to project my limitations onto you) might be to brush off the question. ...

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