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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

The Seductions of Idolatry

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

Much of the book of Devarim is devoted to warning the people against being seduced by idolatry when they enter the land. It is often hard for us to appreciate why idolatry was such a temptation in the past. To better understand the attraction, we must look more closely at the metaphors and images the Continue Reading »

So, What’s the Story With… Christianity?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

Last week we explored how the Torah’s prohibitions against idolatry fall into two categories: 1) the belief in and worship of foreign gods and 2) the representation or worship of God through an image or any physical concretization. These recur throughout the book of Devarim in regular warnings against the seductions of idolatry, and we Continue Reading »

Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Lend Me Your Money

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

If asked which mitzvah obligates us to help the poor, we would immediately respond, “The mitzvah of tzedakah.” There’s only one problem: no such mitzvah exists in the Torah. Nowhere in the Torah does it say that if a poor person asks us for money, we must give it to him. But wait, you say, Continue Reading »

What is the Basis for Rabbinic Authority?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

What is the basis for Rabbinic authority? Why do we follow the Talmud? Why is the Rabbis’ interpretation of Torah mitzvot binding on us? The Talmud tells us that the answer to some of these questions can be found in our parasha. Much of Parashat Shoftim is devoted to institutions of authority: the court system, Continue Reading »

A Rabbi and a Scientist Walk into a Room…

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

Can new discoveries in science and advances in technology bring about changes in halakha? The question is not whether halakha can address phenomena that did not exist in the time of the Talmud, such as electricity, surrogate motherhood, and organ transplants; that is the regular work of halakha. The question, rather, is whether a halakha Continue Reading »

Can We Build Bridges Both to the Left and to the Right – Simultaneously?

by Rabbi Asher Lopatin Posted on September 23, 2016

Lessons from my first year at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah “Excuse me for a moment; I need to take this call,” I said to the rabbis I was meeting with at an important convention for Chareidi professionals dealing with practical halachic issues and public policy.  I had just stopped by the convention to meet rabbis who Continue Reading »

Non-Heart-Beating Donation from Brain Dead Patients: Rav Ahron Soloveichik’s Solution

by Rabbi Asher Lopatin Posted on September 22, 2016

Non-Heart-Beating Donation  from Brain Dead Patients: Rav Ahron Soloveichik’s Solution From “Halakhic Realities,” pp. 253-261   I. THE POSITION OF RABBI AHRON SOLOVEICHIK Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik is generally seen as a great opponent of using brain death to define the end of life. Both the recent study of the Vaad Halacha of the Rabbinical Council  Continue Reading »

Women and Kriyat HaTorah: A Response from Rabbi Aryeh Klapper

Rabbi Aryeh Klapper (Posted on September 8, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

Mitzvah of Lending Money

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 6, 2016

Loaning as a Mitzvah Is there a mitzvah to loan money?  Many of us would think that the answer is “no” – it’s not real tzedakah, because the person has to give the money back in the end.  What is obvious to us is that there is a mitzvah of tzedakah – giving money to Continue Reading »

How Good is our Teshuva?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 6, 2016

    The following sources and questions are meant to provoke a thoughtful deliberation and/or conversation surrounding the concept of teshuva and what it means to attain it. Deuteronomy 30 (Parashat Teshuva) וְהָיָה֩ כִֽי־יָבֹ֨אוּ עָלֶ֜יךָ כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה הַבְּרָכָה֙ וְהַקְּלָלָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תִּי לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ֙ אֶל־ לְבָבֶ֔ךָ בְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֧ר הִדִּיחֲךָ֛ יְקֹוָ֥ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה: וְשַׁבְתָּ֞ עַד־יְקֹוָ֤ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֣ בְקֹל֔וֹ Continue Reading »

Break Down Their Altars: The Limits of Interfaith

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 6, 2016

Although the written Torah suggests in various places a violent relationship with other religions- particularly those that involve avodah zarah (best but incompletely translated as “idolatry”)- we find in the Sages a mixed bag of how we should treat other religions. Some sources seem to suggest that violence was reserved for the biblical epoch while Continue Reading »

Further on Women and Kri’at HaTorah: A Response to Rabbi Aryeh Klapper

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz (Posted on September 6, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies