Responsa

Becoming a Firefighter

by R. Gidon Rothstein 6 Kislev: Tzitz Eliezer on Becoming a Firefighter One of the blessed challenges of a renewed Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is that it brings up questions of how an halachic Judaism can function in a full working society. Tzitz Eliezer 7;20, dated 6 Kislev 5722 (1961) takes up one such challenge. The rabbi of Pardes Channah, R. Yehoshua Zelig Diskin, ...

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Mussaf with a Minyan or Shacharit First

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Cheshvan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Mussaf with a Minyan or Shacharit First There may be people who have never come late to shul; for the rest of us, hard questions arise. Shu”t Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayyim 4;68, dated 28 Marcheshvan 5750 (1979), deals with a person who comes to shul when the community is already up to Mussaf, the additional prayer on Shabbat and holidays. ...

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Unsupervised Meat

by R. Gidon Rothstein 21 Cheshvan: Chacham Zvi on Meat Left Without Supervision We outsource much about kashrut, especially regarding meat. We walk into a kosher butcher, supervised by a rabbi or organization we trust, buy meat, go home and prepare and eat it. That has many advantages, since almost all the people involved in the process are more familiar with the relevant halachot than ...

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Can Medical Care Make an Animal a Terefah?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 7 Cheshvan: R. Ovadya Yosef on Whether Medical Care Can Make an Animal a Terefah Terefot as defined by the Gemara present a challenge Rambam already noticed. The Gemara seems to view a terefah as an animal that sustained a mortal wound (there is a Talmudic view that terefah chayah, a terefah can live, but that’s not important here), but the list of ...

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Blessings on Mitzvot

by R. Gidon Rothstein 1st Day RH Cheshvan: Chatam Sofer on Brachot on Mitzvot A long time ago, I thought about writing a PhD dissertation about R. Tzvi Hirsch Chayes (I gave it up because I wasn’t interested in learning the necessary languages, and Bruria Hutner David beat me to it as well), so I kind of perk up whenever I come across him. In Shu”t Chatam ...

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Extending Heter Mechirah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 20 Tishrei: R. Yitzchak Elchanan Extending the Heter Mechirah for Another Shemittah The heter mechirah is an halachic solution to the quandary of how to handle shemittah in times when farmers feel they cannot financially forego an entire year’s crop. Today, the issue raises religious, political, and economic questions, which are far beyond our purview here; but in 5656 (1895-96), a shemittah year, R. Yitzchak ...

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Failed Commitments

by R. Gidon Rothstein 13 Tishrei: Chatam Sofer on Failed Commitments The thirteenth of Tishrei might feel close to Sukkot for some of us, but Chatam Sofer’s responsa show him still involved in the usual business of life. As I didn’t find any one responsum that would take up our space here, I am going to share three relatively brief ones. While they are on ...

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If Tzitz Eliezer Were Your Rabbi, What He Might Say This Yom Kippur

by R. Gidon Rothstein 10 Tishrei: If Tzitz Eliezer Were Your Rabbi, What He Might Say This Yom Kippur In the later volumes of his responsa, Tzitz Eliezer (R. Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg, 1916-2006) included two derashot, sermons, he gave on Yom Kippur (one before Yizkor of 5741, or 1940, the other before Kol Nidre of 5727, 1966).  We could do a great deal worse than having him serve as our ...

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Forgiving People

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Elul: R. Hayyim David Halevy on Forgiving People Sometimes, I find a responsum that answers a question I’ve struggled with for a long time. Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 6;42, responding to a letter written on 28 Elul 5744 (1984), takes up a question which points out how difficult forgiving people can be, and is acutely relevant to ...

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