Sunday, March 26th, 2017

The Uncertain Future of the Jerusalem Real Estate and Hotel Industry by Gidon Rothstein

April 17, 2011 by  
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Jerusalem real estate today is fairly expensive, but viewed in the long term, that investment is not necessarily as good as it seems. For the hotel industry, it might be even worse.  The issue lies in an halachah discussed in the Tosefta and Avot de-Rabbi Natan (Version A, Chapter 39), where one of the ways [...]

Should Jews Change How They Build Houses? On Avoiding Halachic Problems by Gidon Rothstein

April 6, 2011 by  
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Based on its reading of verses from this week’s parsha, Mishnah Negaim 12:2 clearly states that only houses constructed of wood, stones, and dirt can be subject to house-צרעת, loosely translated as house-leprosy. The Mishnah derives this from the Torah’s reference to replacing all those materials as the first stage of checking whether the stain [...]

When To Speak Up, That is The Question by Gidon Rothstein

March 21, 2011 by  
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I recently received a copy of Columbia magazine devoted to water issues (and, of course, how members of the Columbia University community are helping work to solve those problems).  Reading, I was reminded by a verse in Zechariah we read in the haftarah of the first day of Sukkot. In the context of describing some [...]

Potential Religious Opportunities and Challenges for Old Age by Gidon Rothstein

February 22, 2011 by  
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Preliminary Thoughts From Less of a Distance Than Once Upon a Time Old age, what is it good for? When the Temptations and then Edwin Starr asked that question about war in the early 1970s, they opened us up to remembering that there are aspects of life we take for granted that might bear further [...]

Haftorat Mishpatim: The Significance of Slaves by Gidon Rothstein

January 28, 2011 by  
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Jeremiah 34;8-22, 33;25-26 This week’s Torah reading, the first after telling us of the greatest mass revelation claimed by any people, starts with the laws of slaves.  Especially considering our current revulsion for the whole institution, we might find it odd verging on problematic that the Torah would open its presentation of Jewish law with [...]

Haftorah Parshat Beshalach by Gidon Rothstein

January 13, 2011 by  
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Judges 4:4-5:31 Why is This the Haftarah for Parshat Beshalah? We might be tempted to assume this haftarah was chosen because it contains a song of praise to God, like in the Torah reading itself.  Indeed, Sefardi custom limits the haftarah to the Shirah, the Song.  Ashkenazic custom, which reads the story leading up to [...]

Haftarah Parshat Bo: Great Minds Don’t Always Think Alike by Gidon Rothstein

January 5, 2011 by  
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Jeremiah 46;13-28 The haftarah we read this week records the words of God spoken to Yirmiyahu “when Nevuchadnezzar the king of Bavel came to smite Egypt.”  That seems to mean that this prophecy occurred relatively soon after the prophecy from Yehezkel that we read last week.  Apparently, Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Egypt inspired both prophets, living [...]

Haftarat Vaera: One of the Most Significant Challenges of Our Times by Gidon Rothstein

December 30, 2010 by  
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Yehezkel 28;25-29;21 This haftarah is a complex piece of writing, with many themes, but one of its central concerns is how and when nations should see world events as connected to the hand of God, a question that figures prominently in our times as well. Many today instinctively recoil from the topic, since it is [...]

Haftarat Parshat Shemot: Visions of Redemption by Gidon Rothstein

December 25, 2010 by  
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Isaiah 27;6-28:13, 29;22-3 In obvious parallel to the Torah reading, the haftarah discusses redemption, starting with the actual fact of the Jewish return and “rooting” in their Land, but focusing more on the (sometimes unpleasant) steps leading up to the redemption. For Jews stuck in Exile, the promise of return might itself be attractive enough, [...]

Prophets of Today by Gidon Rothstein

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under New Posts, Philosophy

We are used to relegating prophecy to the past, the bygone days of Moshe Rabbenu, Yeshaya, Yirmiya, and to see their messages as our only avenue to knowing what God wants from us (beyond the world of Torah and halachah).  While even there, I think we miss how much those texts could tell us about [...]

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