Responsa

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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Picking and Choosing Poskim

by R. Gidon Rothstein Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av: R. Betzalel Stern on Picking and Choosing Poskim Posek-shopping is a natural instinct; we want to be told our desired course of action is also an or the appropriate one. Shu”t Betzel HaChochmah 6;29, dated Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av 5747 (1987) takes up the issue, how to choose a posek without predetermining the answer we get. A ...

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Community Voting Rights

by R. Gidon Rothstein 22 Tammuz: Tzitz Eliezer On Community Voting Rights On the 22nd of Tammuz, 5707 (1947), Tzitz Eliezer (3;29) responded to a request to lay out rules for who can or should be selected to positions of leadership, who votes, and related issues.  Much of this, he points out, he had already discussed in volume two of his work, responsum 24. For those of ...

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Kashering Glass Utensils

by R. Gidon Rothstein R. Ezriel Hildesheimer Defends Kashering Glass Utensils [Click here for the audio version]. The Torah does not mention glass as a material for utensils such as pots and pans, leaving us no instructions for how to make glass items kosher. We often assume it is impervious to absorption, which would mean we could wash it off carefully and use it ...

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Must Slaves and Women Settle the World?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 9 Tammuz: R. Ya’akov Ettlinger on Whether Slaves and Women Must Settle the World Halachah defines two aspects to the obligation to bear children. The Torah commands piryah ve-rivyah (commonly translated as being fruitful and multiplying), and Chazal added an obligation known as la-shevet, based on Yeshayahu 45;18, where the navi reminds us Hashem did not create the world to be void, but la-shevet, to be inhabited. ...

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Eating the Showbread

by R. Gidon Rothstein 25 Sivan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Eating the Showbread [Click here for the audio version]. My Bar-Ilan CD-Rom includes in Iggerot Moshe, the responsa of R. Moshe Feinstein, two parts of a Chelek Kodashim ve-Taharot, explanations of the service in the Temple, its sacrifices and laws of ritual purity. In part 1, responsum 11, dated 25 Sivan 5718 (1958), R. Feinstein ...

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Chalitzah Within Three Months

by R. Gidon Rothstein 18 Sivan: R. Ovadya Yosef on Chalitzah Within Three Months When Necessary [Click here for the audio version]. People do not always accommodate as we would hope. Shu”t Yabi’a Omer 8; Even HaEzer 28, which was written in late 1975, refers to a court decision R. Ovadya Yosef joined on 18 Sivan 5723 (1963). A rabbinical judge in Haifa was faced with a widow whose ...

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Novelty in Halachah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Sivan: R. Hayyim David Halevy on Novelty in Halachah [Click here for the audio version.] During the week before I came to summarize Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 6;54 in writing, a rabbi contacted me about an article I wrote years ago, which he had only just come across. We exchanged ideas about some details of the topic, cordially, and ...

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