Responsa

Some Surprising Limits on Saving Lives

by R. Gidon Rothstein 5 Tevet: Some Surprising Limits on Saving Lives, According to R. Yaakov Ettlinger [Click here for the audio version]. In two remarkable responsa, R. Yaakov Ettlinger takes a surprising stand on the limits of saving one’s own life.  Aside from the specific issue, the responsum also takes on a broader question I find continuingly interesting to ponder, how we ...

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Dedicating a Cemetery

by R. Gidon Rothstein 28 Kislev: R. Kook on Halachah in the Absence of Halachah: Dedicating a Cemetery [Click for the audio version.] In a brief responsum from the 28th of Kislev 5698 (Dec. 1937), Da’at Kohen, Yoreh Deah 200, R. Kook prescribed a ceremony for how to dedicate a new cemetery in Ramat Rachel, near Talpiyot in Jerusalem.  This and two related responsa surprised ...

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Milkman on Shabbat

by R. Gidon Rothstein 17 Kislev: R. Uzziel on a Milkman Making His Rounds on Shabbat [Click for the audio version] To stand for something—anything—you must stand against some other things. Whatever the value you wish to uphold, when other people or factors work to deny the value in question, those who support it must either act or see their ...

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A Sinful Mitzvah

by R. Gidon Rothstein 10 Kislev: R. Uzziel on Mitzvah HaBa’ah Be-‘Averah Shu”t Mishpetei Uzziel 4; Inyanim Kelaliyim 6, dated 10 Kislev 5700 (he writes it as taf-resh-nun-nun, 400-200-50-50, I think so it will have four letters in Hebrew, instead of just the two letters taf-shin), responds to a teacher at Porat Yosef (the famed Sephardic yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem where, among others, R. Ovadya Yosef ...

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Conditional Get and a Kohen

by R. Gidon Rothstein Netziv on When Conditions In a Get Make Problems for a Kohen and His Wife Click here for the audio version. On other occasions, we have discussed a man giving a get to his wife with a condition, how to avoid leaving her in marital limbo should he go missing in action. Shu”t Meshiv Davar 4;50, dated second day Rosh Chodesh Kislev, 5642 ...

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Detecting an Affair

by R. Gidon Rothstein Two Teshuvot from 25 Cheshvan: Tzitz Eliezer on Detecting an Affair The desire to “win” a divorce leads some people to make every effort to twist and use the legal system however they can, and courts are not always as adept as we’d like them to be at catching on. Two responsa of Tzitz Eliezer with a 25 Cheshvan connection show him ...

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Beit Din At A Conversion Immersion

by R. Gidon Rothstein 18 Cheshvan: R. Ovadya Yosef on the Beit Din Being Present for a Conversion Immersion The final step of conversion to Judaism has the convert immerse in a mikveh (ritual bath), an immersion which must be witnessed by the overseeing rabbinical court. This simple halachic fact presents obvious complications when the convert is a woman. Shu”t Yabi’a Omer 1; Yoreh De’ah 19, dated ...

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Wedding Pictures at the Kotel

by R. Gidon Rothstein 11 Cheshvan: R. Hayyim David HaLevi on Taking Wedding Pictures at the Kotel People can mistake sanctity of a place, kedushat makom, for some kind of magical power rather than a venue for closer relationship with Hashem.Shu”t Aseh Lecha Rav 6;43, dated 11 Cheshvan 5745 (1984; it’s unusual for R. Hayyim David Halevy to date his responsa. Usually, he ...

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RSZA on Time of Death, Brain Death, and Organ Transplants

by R. Gidon Rothstein 4 Cheshvan: RSZA on Time of Death, Brain Death, and Organ Transplants In Shu”t Minchat Shelomo Tinyana (2-3) 86, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (RSZA) gathered several short responsa into one chapter, with different pieces carrying different dates. One is dated 4 Marcheshvan 5753 (1992), giving us the opportunity to learn some more from this great Torah ...

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