Responsa

R. Ovadya Yosef on Believing a Non-Jew

by R. Gidon Rothstein 23 Cheshvan 5739 (1978): R. Ovadya Yosef on Believing a Non-Jew This responsum is actually a bit of a bait and switch, since it’s titled as being about when we can believe a non-Jew, but the bulk of the lengthy discussion revolves around other issues. That’s because the decision about whether to believe that which non-Jews ...

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Following a Possibility All the Way Through

by R. Gidon Rothstein Blogging R. Lichtenstein, Taharot, Week 2: Following a Possibility All the Way Through Next week, By His Light, talks he gave in the 1980s! One of the trademarks of R. Lichtenstein’s style of teaching, both in my memory and as it comes through in the volumes of his shiurim that we are dipping into together, is ...

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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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Mourning Those Who Have Left Jewish Society

by R. Gidon Rothstein 2 Cheshvan: Mourning Those Who Have Left Jewish Society On the second of Cheshvan (no year, but presumably after 1973, when he became Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv), R. Haim David Ha-Levy in Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 5;30 (whose biography, written by Rabbis Marc and Hayyim Angel, I have not yet read), dealt with a ...

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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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Letting a Non-Kohen Take the First Aliyah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 26 Elul: Letting a Non-Kohen Take the First Aliyah Iggerot Moshe Orach Chayyim 2;34 is dated to the 26th of Elul, 5723 (1963), about calling up someone other than a kohen to read the Torah first on a Monday or Thursday. For example, if two men had yahrzeit on the same day (which is assumed to ...

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