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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.

Lamentations – Chapter 1

July 31, 2013, by

Eicha (Lamentations) is an unusual Book. As you are probably aware, the Book describes the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians and it is read on Tisha b’Av, the day dedicated to commemorating that sorrowful event. What many may find surprising, however, is that the Book was actually written prophetically as a […]

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Re’eh – Haftarah

July 26, 2013, by

The two parts of this week’s haftarah, verses 11-17 of chapter 54 and 1-5 of Chapter 55, seem distinct from each other. In addition, their literal content is less rich than the meaning the Sages find in it, so I will focus more than usual on their themes. The first section finally, in our third […]

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Eikev – Haftarah

July 20, 2013, by

The first section of this haftarah, the second of the seven of comfort, stresses the repopulation of Jerusalem as a vital part of her rejuvenation. Zion thinks of herself as abandoned, which the Prophet vigorously disputes by telling us that our connection to God is stronger than a mother’s to her child or nursing infant, […]

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Va’Etchanan – Haftarah

July 12, 2013, by

Haftarot like this one raise a thorny problem. What if important truths about how the world works, how our relationship with God should work, how our future as a people and individuals can, should, and will go, was embedded in a difficult text? I ask because I recognize the difficulty in reading certain sections of […]

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Devarim – Haftarah

July 6, 2013, by

While Isaiah lived 150 years before the Destruction, and is better known as the prophet of consolation, the Midrash notes that he, like Jeremiah, was active during the reign of four successive kings. While the point seems banal, the Midrash’s raising it suggests it saw a parallel between the two prophets, the one of consolation […]

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Matot – Haftarah

June 29, 2013, by

An overall question I think worth raising during the Three Weeks is: in what contexts are we, any of us, prepared for the unvarnished truth? I don’t mean a debatable truth, where I experience an event one way, and the other person insists it transpired in another, with other connotations. No, I mean a truth […]

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Matot – Haftarah

June 28, 2013, by

Note that this week’s haftarah, and the nine after it, are chosen for their connection to the themes of this season of the year—destruction and comfort—rather than the Torah readings with which they happen to coincide. That is why, for example, we read this haftarah for Pinchas when it is printed after Matot; it is […]

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Pinchas – Haftarah

June 22, 2013, by

This haftarah tells of the beginning of the end of Elijah’s career as a prophet, soon after its climax on Har haCarmel. The haftarah actually continues that story, which we read as the haftarah of Parshat Ki Tissa. We skip some middle events, such as Elijah ordering the people to kill the idolatrous prophets and […]

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Balak – Haftarah

June 15, 2013, by

The opening of this week’s haftarah echoes a question I’ve long had about the Torah reading. None of the events with Balak and Balaam happens to Jews or involves them, raising the question of why it’s included in the Torah. The haftarah’s call for us to remember what Balak intended to do to us, and […]

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Chukat – Haftarah

June 8, 2013, by

We ordinarily delve into haftarot trying to understand the connection to the Torah reading or by noting that it starts or ends at an odd place. This week, I want to come at those questions by analyzing tradition’s negativity towards Jepthah. In last week’s haftarah, when Samuel rebukes the Jews for rejecting God’s leadership in […]

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