Today is February 24, 2020 / /

The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Belief & Observance

Sukkahs in the Wind

Question: Given the strong winds that we have been experiencing, is it permissible to take down the sukkah on Hol HaMoed to prevent it from being damaged or from causing injury?  If I do take it down, am I exempt from eating in a sukkah, or do I have to find a sukkah that is still up?…

When to NOT Ask for Forgiveness

Rav Binyamin Yehoshua Zilber zt”l was a major Haredi posek of the previous generation. He studied in Brisk and at a satellite yeshiva of Novardok in his youth, eventually making aliyah to become one of the first students at Yeshivat Beit Yosef-Novardok in Bene Brak.…

A Striving Grounded in Reality

Rabbi Yitzhak Weiss hy”d was a highly-regard Hungarian rabbi before the Second World War. He served as the Rav of Odleburg and then of Verbo. In his time, he was well known for the breadth of his knowledge; his teacher, the Shevet Sofer, is said to have referred to him as “my very own bookcase.”…

Time to Check the Mezuzot?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 23, 2019

The mitzvah of mezuzah appears at the end of this week’s parasha in what we know of as the second paragraph of Shema: “And you shall write them (these words) on the doorposts of your house and of your gates.” (Deut.…

Accepting the Mitzvot as a Convert: Does it Matter What You’re Really Thinking?

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Shmelkes (1828-1904) was one of the leading rabbis in the latter part of the 19th century in Eastern Europe. He was the head of the rabbinical court in Lvov (Lemberg) from 1869-1893. His Beit Yiẓḥak (6 vols., 1875–1908), on the four parts of the Shulkḥan Arukh, was widely acclaimed. …

The Joy of Text Ep. 407: On Matzah and Sex (Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1)

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 15, 2019

These sources accompany the Matzah and Sex episode of the Joy of Text podcast.   1. Yerushalmi Pesahim 10:1 ירושלמי פסחים י’:א’ ר’ יודן נשייא סחה וצחא שאל לר’ מנא בגין דאתא צחי מהו נישתי. א”ל תני ר’ חייה אסור לאדם לטעום כלום עד שתחשך.…

Why Cross-Dressing on Purim is Kosher (Shulchan Aruch 6:96), Joy of Text 4:06

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 20, 2019

These sources accompany the Cross-Dressing on Purim episode of the Joy of Text podcast.   1. Rema, Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayim 696:8 רמ”א, שו”ע אורח חיים תרצ”ו:ח’ ומה שנהגו ללבוש פרצופים בפורים, וגבר לובש שמלת אשה ואשה כלי גבר, אין איסור בדבר מאחר שאין מכוונין אלא לשמחה בעלמא; וכן בלבישת כלאים דרבנן.…

Hair Covering Episode, Joy of Text 4:03

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 11, 2019

These sources accompany the hair covering episode of the Joy of Text podcast.   A. Nature of Obligation The verse in Numbers {source ‎1} implies that women (perhaps specifically married women) would normally have their head covered. This point is made explicit from Sifrei {source ‎2}, which emphasizes the fact that this was a norm, and does not frame it as an obligation. …

Abortion in Halakha: A Study Guide

Halakhic Parameters of Abortion: A Study Guide Guided Questions for Chavruta Learning Sources 1-7 were covered in the previous sheet.  Look at sources 8-12.  Do they indicate that a fetus has the legal status / protections of a human life or not? …

Why Are We Doing This and Why Does it Matter?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 31, 2019

The enterprise of ta’amei ha’mitzvot, trying to identify the values that underlie the mitzvot, is an important although potentially dangerous one.  The importance lies in the fact that it helps us actualize those values both in the performance of the mitzvot and in other areas of our lives. …

Tu B’Shevat and Creative Destruction

Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873-1960) is best known as the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. He was born and raised in Lithuania, where he studied at Slobodka and Telz, two of the world’s most prominent yeshivot before the war. After making aliyah, he became a part of the rabbinic establishment of the old yishuv, while also building a close connection with Rav Kook, becoming part of his circle of intimates along with Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap, and the Nazir, Rabbi David Cohen.…

Lighting Hanukkah Candles with Electric Lights: A Teshuvah from Rav Yaakov Moshe Toledano

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Toledano (1880-1960), author of Responsa Yam HaGadol, was a Sepharadi rabbi and posek. He served Jewish communities in his hometown of Tiberias, in Tangier, Cairo, and finally Tel Aviv, where he served as the Sepharadi chief rabbi. In 1958, he was appointed the Minister of Religions.…