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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

Mesechet Chullin: Our Limited Role as Creators

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 4, 2011

Towards the end of Mesechet Chullin, the Gemara – in the middle of a discussion about the impurity of animals, and the different components of their bodies – turned to a fascinating conversation about the diversity of the animals of creation, and the phenomenon of animals that are the product of cross-breeding (Chullin 127a): וכשהיה ר”ע מגיע לפסוק זה אומר (תהלים קד, כד) מה רבו מעשיך ה’ יש לך בריות גדלות בים ויש לך בריות גדלות ביבשה שבים אילמלי עולות ביבשה מיד מתות שביבשה אילמלי יורדות לים מיד מתות יש לך בריות גדלות באור ויש לך בריות גדלות באויר שבאור אילמלי עולות לאויר מיד מתות שבאויר אילמלי יורדות לאור מיד מתות מה רבו מעשיך ה’… אמר רב הונא בר תורתא פעם אחת הלכתי לוועד וראיתי נחש שהוא כרוך על הצב לימים יצא ערוד מביניהם וכשבאתי לפני ר’ שמעון החסיד אמר לי אמר הקב”ה הם הביאו בריה שלא בראתי בעולמי אף אני אביא עליהם בריה שלא בראתי בעולמי When R.…

Mitzvot and their Interpretation: The Role of Values and Narrative

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 12, 2011

Ki Teitze is a parsha densely packed with mitzvot. A new mitzvah appears almost every few verses, and sometimes even more frequently. It is, in a way, the parshat Mishpatim or the parshat Kedoshim of Devarim. Now, of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what their parameters are or how they are to be implemented.…

Mesechet Menachot: The Taxonomy of the Gemara’s Grains

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on May 20, 2011

The Mishna of Menachot 70a lists the five species of grain.  These species are of central importance in many halakhot.  Only bread made from these species of grains is considered bread, and gets the brakha of hamotzi.  Only matzah made from these grains is considered matzah, and can be used on the seder night.  …

Rabbeinu Tam’s Two Sunsets: When is it Nighttime?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on April 1, 2011

One of the key Tosafots in Shas (Menachot 20b, s.v., ini) discusses the position of Rabbeinu Tam that there are two sunsets – the visible one, and then one occurring almost an hour later, when the sun – according to Rabbinic cosmology – exists the tunnel of the opaque dome of the rakiya, sky or firmament, and begins to travel above the rakiya from West to East so it can rise again the next morning. …

Hilkhot Kashrut: Even Separated Foods Can be Treif

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 25, 2011

Previously we saw that when a meat and milk are cooked together, they may remain forbidden even after they are separated.  This depends on whether we understand the prohibition of meat and milk to be based on the fact that they were cooked together, which does not change even after they are separated, or based on the fact that there is a mixture of tastes, which would be negated once they are separated.  …

Hilchot Kashrut: When Does a Mixture Become Treif?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 11, 2011

The Mishna (Hullin 108) states that if a drop of milk falls on a piece of meat in a stew, and there is enough milk that it can be tasted in the meat, then the meat becomes basar bi’chalav (hereafter, bbh), milk and meat cooked together, and is forbidden. …

Hilkhot Kashrut: Taste Transfer and Pickling

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 11, 2011

The Gemara recognizes a number of ways in which taste can transfer from one food to another without the presence of heat.   First, there can be surface transfer when one or both of the foods are moist, such as when cheese touches a piece of meat. …

Exploring the Prohibition of Meat and Milk Part 2

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 28, 2011

Previously we explored the parameters of the Biblical prohibition of meat and milk, and how Chazal had extended the prohibition from mammals (the females of which produce milk) to include also birds, and in the process extended the prohibition conceptually from “kid goat in its mother’s milk” to “meat and milk.”  The Rabbinic extensions, however, are not limited to the type of meat (and milk), but also apply to the very prohibited activity itself.    …

Exploring The Prohibition of Milk and Meat Part 1

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 21, 2011

The Torah’s prohibition to cook a kid goat in its mother’s milk is understood by Chazal to prohibit the cooking of meat from cows, sheep, and goats, together with milk, even if it is not from the animal’s mother. Why is there such a gap between the literal and halakhic meaning of the verse, and in what way is the halakha of meat and milk shaped by the simple sense of the verse?  …

Brain Death and Organ Donation

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 14, 2011

What the halakhic debate around organ donation is all about?   It is unquestionably a mitzvah of pikuach nefesh, saving of life, to give organs after one’s death.  There are times where up to 8 lives can be saved with the organs from one body. …

Roasted in Non-Kosher Wine?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 30, 2010

Recently someone came over to me and asked me the following question –  he had marinated a 4 pound roast in wine, roasted it, and then discovered that the wine was not kosher.   This was to be his Shabbat meal.  What was the status of the roast?  …

Hilkhot Kashrut: How Does Taste Transfer?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 17, 2010

Taste transfers in complex ways according to halakha.  When a forbidden food gets mixed up directly with a permissible one – they are blended together, or cooked together so they all become one mass, there is no question that the forbidden food is present, and that the mixture will be forbidden unless the forbidden food is less than 1/60th of the whole. …