Would it be surprisingly improper for the author of a legal responsum to publish his own answer to a question asked, answered, and published by another such author because he believed he had a better answer?

Are there t'shuvos like this in print among the well-known shu"tim or has such a practice been avoided for reasons of conventional respect?

  • There are instances of a published responsum being a reply to comments on a responsum of the same respondent that had been published in an earlier volume. (I've seen this in Igros Moshe and Riv'vos Efrayim at least.) So if the answer to your question is "it's improper", then something the third party can do is write a letter to the respondent with comments on the responsum, and the respondent can publish same and his reply thereto. Since this avenue is open, perhaps the alternative method of commenting, as outlined in your question, is indeed improper (but that's a guess).
    – msh210
    Apr 27, 2011 at 7:58
  • 1
    I would expect a "fake question" to be asked, rather than a direct rebuttal. And nobody but those in the know, would be aware that the question was fake.
    – avi
    May 22, 2011 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


The Noda BiHuda (Rabbi Yechezkel Landau) has the question of a woman who offered herself to the leader of some band of ruffians, to save the lives of a large number of Jews. Such a question had appeared in a responsum several centuries earlier.

Personally I think the world is a large and weird enough place that it's likely (or at least plausible) that such an event happened more than once a millenium; but Rabbi Aaron Rothkoff-Rakeffet said he suspected that this was a historical question to which Rabbi Landau wanted to add something. And the fact that Rabbi Landau's account has more detail than the earlier responsum? "He was a good teacher, he embellished with details to get your attention."

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