Responsa

Do Non-Jews Get Reward for Mitzvot

by R. Gidon Rothstein 16 Cheshvan: R. Moshe Feinstein on Whether Non-Jews Get Reward for Mitzvot Last week, we saw a responsum that took a position I assume many of us found problematic. I’m doing it again this week, with fewer practical aspects but much broader theological ones—it ends up being about the role of mitzvot in the world, whether ...

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Women and Time-Connected Mitzvot

by R. Gidon Rothstein 9 Cheshvan: Women and Time-Connected Mitzvot One of the legitimate critiques leveled at today’s intellectual culture is that too many of us listen only to those with whom we agree, living in a bubble of self-agreement. That doesn’t mean we must accept the claims of those with whom we disagree, it means we should engage with ...

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Building Unity Through Conformity

25 Tishrei: Building Unity Through Conformity by R. Gidon Rothstein Soon after Sukkot 5699 (1938), R. Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel responded, in Shu”t Mishpetei Uziel 4;1, to a question from one of the local rabbis in Tel Aviv (where R. Uziel was chief rabbi at the time, soon to be made Sephardic Chief Rabbi of all of Mandatory Palestine). This ...

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Hakhel

18 Tishrei: R. Ovadya Yosef on Hakhel by R. Gidon Rothstein Truth is, I cheated with this one. I was looking for a responsum written on the eighteenth of Tishrei, and forgot that respondents would date it to the second or third day of Chol HaMoed (depending on whether they were inside or outside Israel). I had another responsum, and ...

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Heter Meah Rabbanim for an Insane Wife

11 Tishrei: Heter Meah Rabbanim for an Insane Wife by R. Gidon Rothstein On the eleventh of Tishrei 5610 (1849), R. Yosef Shaul Nathanson in Shut Shoel ve-Nishal Mahadura Kama 1;113 (R. Nathanson was a rabbi in Galicia and Ukraine in the mid-late 1800s) saw the ruling of R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes freeing a man to remarry without a heter ...

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How Much Blood Makes a Shiur?

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Tishrei: How Much Blood Makes a Shiur? R. Yaacov Ettlinger (1798-1871) was an important German rabbi, teacher both of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch and R. Azriel Hildesheimer, perhaps best-known for his Aruch LaNer novellae on the Gemara. His responsa, Binyan Tzion, often take up more technical issues than I have felt will work in this ...

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Finishing Brachot, Relating to Torah Scholars, Making Aliyah, and Finding Peace

19 Elul, 5697 (1937): Tzitz Eliezer Finishing Brachot, Relating to Torah Scholars, Making Aliyah, and Finding Peace I am a sucker for hadranim, for talks given upon the occasion of finishing a tractate of Talmud. Perhaps it’s because it’s so rare for me to finish a piece of learning, perhaps because it’s an opportunity to watch a great thinker reflect on ...

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