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Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein

Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein

Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein currently serves as the Rosh Kollel of the Yeshiva University Community Kollel based at HAFTR.

Ha’azinu – Haftarah

August 31, 2013, by

(Read when Ha’azinu is not Shabbat Shuvah.) This is also the haftarah for the 7th day of Pesah, so it allows us to see how one text can have different emphases. We will summarize rather than try to analyze all fifty verses in depth. One Long Shirah This haftarah is all one long section of […]

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Vayeilech – Haftarah

August 24, 2013, by

(When Netsavim and Vayelech are read separately, Vayelech is Shabbat Shuvah.) This being Shabbat Shuvah, the Sabbath between Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur, when Jews are busily trying to repent all their sins so as to avert the judgment of pure justice, the haftarah opens with Hosea’s call for the Jews to return (the literal […]

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Nitzavim – Haftarah

August 23, 2013, by

(When Netsavim and Vayelech are read separately, this is the haftarah of Netsavim, and Vayelech is Shabbat Shuvah.) The first section of this haftarah is both long and difficult, although giving a generally positive tone. Some of the difficulty stems from Isaiah piling metaphors on top of each other, so that we have to make […]

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Ki Tavo- Haftarah

August 17, 2013, by

Several years ago, I gave a speech in an Orthodox synagogue (whom I would have expected to be most likely to take Scriptural promises seriously) in which I asked my listeners to imagine a time when Jerusalem would be so central to the world’s economy that non-Jews would volunteer gifts to the city. To accommodate […]

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Ki Teitzei – Haftarah

August 10, 2013, by

This week’s haftarah is exceedingly brief; it is combined with the (slightly longer) haftarah for Parshat Reeh to make the haftarah of Parshat Noah. In ten verses, the haftarah focuses our attention on one aspect of the comfort of Jerusalem. Highlighting this idea, Song of Songs Rabbah 1;1 notes that Scripture uses 10 terms of […]

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Lamentations – Chapter 5

August 4, 2013, by

The people ask G-d to remember what has happened to them and to see them in their degraded state. Foreign invaders have captured the land and the Temple. (“Houses” – plural – in verse 2 refers to both Temples.) They have become a nation of widows and orphans. They must pay the occupying forces for […]

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Lamentations – Chapter 4

August 3, 2013, by

Rashi says that this chapter is the dirge lamenting King Josiah referred to in II Chronicle 35:25. Even the gold appears to have dimmed! The holy gems are scattered in the streets! (The Targum says this refers to the gold and jewels of the Temple; Rashi says it refers to the faces of the people, […]

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Shoftim – Haftarah

August 3, 2013, by

Although one of the seven haftarot of comfort, this week’s selection also presents a challenge, in that it makes clear that our level of comfort depends on our actions. The haftarah shows an inferior kind, less good than we might get otherwise. While better than what we have now, Isaiah is letting us know we […]

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Lamentations – Chapter 3

August 2, 2013, by

Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem, saying: “I am the man who has seen what G-d has done in His anger.” By this the prophet means that he had the misfortune of actually witnessing the destruction of the Temple, unlike earlier prophets, who merely foretold it. “G-d has caused me to walk in darkness,” Jeremiah […]

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Lamentations – Chapter 2

August 1, 2013, by

In His anger, G-d brought darkness on Jerusalem. In one fell swoop, He cast the glory of Israel from Heaven to Earth, refusing to acknowledge the Temple as His footstool. (The Temple is considered G-d’s “footstool,” adjacent to His “throne” in Heaven. These terms are, of course, metaphorical.) G-d has not shown pity to the […]

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