Ohr hamizrachi: contemporary Halachic responsa

by Rabbi Dr. Shlomo E. Glicksberg

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Glicksberg, who was recently appointed as a Dayan on the South African Beth Din, is the Senior Rabbi of the Mizrachi community and Rosh Kollel of the Bet Mordechai Campus Bet Midrash.

Prior to arriving in South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Glicksberg was Rabbi of the Nitzanim community in Baka, Jerusalem for 11 years, and it was during this period when he penned two Hebrew volumes of responsa titled Sh’ut Nitzanei Aretz (published in 5771/2010 and 5775/2014 respectively).

Each volume of Sh’ut Nitzanei Aretz is made up of two parts – responsa and summaries of more general Jewish practices and customs, and each responsum penned by Rabbi Dr. Glicksberg is clear, thorough, detailed and brilliant and concludes with a fabulous summary of the points raised and the conclusions drawn.

Regrettably, despite the clarity and modern-day relevance of Rabbi Glicksberg’s rulings, Sh’ut Nitzanei Aretz is not well known, and even if one were to have a copy, many may find the length and detailed style of each responsum to be somewhat challenging. However, just over a year ago Rabbi Glicksberg’s rulings became available to the English-reading public with the publication of Ohr HaMizrach which was published by the Bet Mordechai Campus Bet Midrash.

Rather than containing full-translations of Rabbi Glicksberg’s responsa, those behind the publication of Ohr HaMizrach translated and expanded the summaries penned by Rabbi Glicksberg in Sh’ut Nitzanei Aretz which means that Ohr HaMizrachi contains 30 short halakhic essays addressing an incredibly wide range of issues including topics such as:

* Which aspects of mitzvah observance can be ignored by somone suffering with OCD?
* Is it permissible to pray in a multi-faith prayer room?
* Does one fulfil their duty of hearing Havdalah over Skype?
* Is it permissible to decide a wedding date based on astrological projections?
* Can we convert a man who remains married to a non-Jewish woman?

Rabbi Dr. Glicksberg is a brilliant and bold halakhic thinker and for those seriously interested in halakhic study I would highly recommend purchasing Sh’ut Nitzanei Aretz. However, despite the brevity of its essays, there is no doubt that Ohr HaMizrach is a fantastic addition to the Jewish bookshelf that provides English-language readers with a glimpse of the halakhic process as applied to the contemporary situation.

To find out how to order a copy of Ohr HaMizrach, contact Rabbi Yoni Lipschitz at yonatandml@gmail.com