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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Talmud

Formalism and Reality in Hilkhot Niddah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 5, 2010

One of the lesser well-known laws of niddah requires that husband and wife separate from sex on the day (or night) that the wife is expecting to get her period. This day is called the veset, and this requirement is learned from the verse “And you shall separate the Children of Israel from their impurity” (Lev.…

Kiddushin as a Speech Act

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 29, 2010

The act of kiddushin, the giving of the ring, is accompanied by a verbal statement – harei at mekudeshet li bi’taba’at zo ki’dat Moshe vi’Yisrael, “behold you are betrothed to me with this ring, according to the laws of Moshe and Israel.” On the face of it, this expression would appear to be nothing more than an expression of intent, and not an actual constituent part of the act of kiddushin.…

Kiddushin: Acquisition or Partnership?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 22, 2010

When studying kiddushei kesef – kiddushin through the giving of an object of value – one must ask: is kiddushin is an actual kinyan, act of acquisition, or not? The two sides of this question can be seen in the development of the practice of giving a ring.…

Birkhat Eirusin: Birkhat Ha’Mitzvah or Birkhat Ha’Shevach?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 15, 2010

Birkhat eirusin, the blessing made prior to the giving of the ring, is directly tied to how we define the religious significance of the institution of marriage. Regarding the brakha itself, the Talmud (Ketuvot 7b) records the text of the brakha and a debate as to whether we close it with a final brakha (which is our practice).…

Understanding Kedusha Through Hilkhot Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 18, 2009

When studying Chanukah, we often study the classic sugyot from Mesekhet Shabbat (21b-23a). However, a more obscure sugya – “The violators (pritzim) came and profaned it” in Avoda Zara, 52B – provides important insights as well. Based on this verse from Ezekiel 7:22, the Gemara states that when the Beit HaMikdash was violated in the time of the Hasmoneans, the altar lost its sanctity and, when the Hasmoneans were victorious, they needed to dismantle and bury the now desacralized altar.…

Hilkhot Niddah: Bedikot of Shiva Nikkiyim

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 13, 2009

In hilkhot Niddah, the topic of bedikat shiva nikkiyim – the internal checking that a woman does during the seven days after cessation of bleeding – raises important questions. In general, it is a question how relevant the Brisker approach to learning – an approach which posits a chakira, two competing conceptual definitions of a law, and then makes all debates dependent on this question – is relevant to the world of halakha.…

Tzniut: Whose Obligation?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 6, 2009

The topics of hirhurim and tzniut, of illicit sexual thoughts and modesty, have deep implication. The Gemara (e.g., Avoda Zara 20b, Berakhot 24a) focuses on the man’s sexual thoughts as potentially resulting from seeing or looking lustfully at women, but does not address the issue of women’s sexual thoughts.…

Sotah as an Issue of Paternity

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 14, 2009

Masekhet Sotah primarily focuses on the parsha in the Torah regarding a woman whose husband suspects her of adultery (Bamidbar 5:11-31). It is fascinating to see how Chazal’s understanding of Sotah differs from the simple sense of the psukim. This issue has been explored by various scholars, in particular Moshe Halbertal and Judith Hauptman, who point out that in Chazal’s understanding the process is one which is more based on objective fact (observed seclusion following a warning) rather than on the husband’s capricious suspicions.…

Fire or Light?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 22, 1998

The miracle of Chanukah is commemorated and publicized by the lighting of the candles. The Talmud (Shabbat 21b) tells us that the exact practice of how to light the Chanukah candles was disputed by the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai.…