• January 27, 2020
  • 1 5780, Sh'vat
  • פרשת בא

World Of Responsa

World Of Responsa

Jews have long written letters to experts asking important halachic questions. Over the course of time these questions and answers were gathered and published in books of she’elot u-teshuvot (questions and answers, acronymed to shu”t, in English, responsa).

In this course, Rabbi Gidon Rothstein introduces some of the most well-known respondents of Jewish history, figures such as Rambam, Rashba, Radvaz, R. Yosef Karo, Noda Bi-Yehudah, Chatam Sofer, R. Moshe Feinstein, R. Ovadya Yosef, and more. We will cover the topics of conversion, the Ethiopians Jews, keeping two days of Yom Tov in Israel, when a woman’s affair must end a marriage, how bad a rabbi has to be to lose his job, how to keep Shabbat when under siege in Gush Etzion, and more.

Through our survey, we will learn about the great sages who were asked, the kinds of logic they found convincing, and their process of bringing halachah from the Beit Midrash to real life.

Next Class

January 30, 2020
2
Days
14
Hours
16
Mins

Timezone

Time of Class

Thu 1:00 am, 2:00 am
November 7, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

This is the first class of  a series in which we will “meet” one important respondent from Jewish History each week, study some of their responsa, and get a first sense of who they were and how they thought. The attached file has the responsa I’m planning on studying for the whole course, so I won’t post it again each week.

November 14, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

We’l be getting to meet Rashba a bit, the premier leader in Spain in the late 13th century, student of Ramban and Rabbenu Yonah.

November 21, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

Tonight, we’ll learn a little bit from Rosh, whose legacy mixes his experiences of his time in Germany and then in Spain. We’ll see some of his views of customs, and of what counts as public and private space, and the different modes of conduct in each.

November 28, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

Rivash is the first of our respondents whose major literary legacy comes from his responsa. We’ll only have time to learn from him about preparing from one day of Yom Tov to the next, and where Kabbala does or does not fit in prayers.

December 5, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

Radvaz was an important late 15th Century respondent. The first responsa we will see was one R. Ovadya Yosef referred to repeatedly during the major aliyah of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the 1980s. Come hear what the fuss was about!

December 12, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

R. Yosef Caro wrote Shulhan Arukh and two other major works. Plus Avkat Rokhel, his responsa, one of which is the main source for Jews from outside of Israel observing two days of Yom Tov while in Israel. We’ll also see his explanation of taking money to be a Torah scholar.

December 19, 2019 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

This week, we’ll see R. Yair Chaim Bacharach, Havvot Yair, discuss how Torah scholars can speak harshly with each other and who counts as a citizen of a community for taxpaying purposes. BREAKING NEWS!– I realized this would be our last shiur before Hanukkah, and found two responsa of the Havvot Yair with Hanukkah elements and implications. So join us for a Hanukkah edition of World of Responsa, starring Havvot Yair.

January 2, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

We’ll be studying the Noda BiYehuda, a rabbi of late 18th century Prague, who faced remarkably modern problems– marriage problems made worse by people leaving Judaism.

January 9, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

Hatam Sofer is so rich a respondent. For this shiur, we will try to get to his discussions of when plague stopped people from having the time to mourn a deceased relative, when a father reneged on an agreement to have one mohel perform a circumcision, when a widow whose husband was childless seems to have to have yibum or halitzah with a brother in law who has left the religion, and the obligation of shiluah ha-ken, sending away the mother bird.

January 16, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

As we continue our work with Hatam Sofer, we’ll look at his responses to two fighting rabbis, a bad rabbi, and his idea of the teshuvah needed for having enjoyed forbidden food a man had been forced to eat.

January 23, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
Class description

 

This time, we finish our analysis of Hatam Sofer, seeing his thoughts on creating new holidays– the basis for much of the Yom HaAtzmaut discussion– a ritual slaughterer/hazzan who had morning episodes of fainting, and whether someone who will need communal support can move to Israel.

January 30, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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February 6, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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February 13, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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February 20, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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February 27, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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March 5, 2020 2:00 am - 3:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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March 12, 2020 1:00 am - 2:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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March 19, 2020 1:00 am - 2:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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March 26, 2020 1:00 am - 2:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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April 2, 2020 1:00 am - 2:00 am
World Of Responsa: Lesson
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Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein has semicha from YU (RIETS) and a PhD from Harvard. He has worked in shul rabbinate, high school and adult education. He is the author of both fiction and non-fiction, most recently "As If We Were There: Readings for a Transformative Passover Experience". He lives in Riverdale, NY.