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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Lifecycle Events

The Mitzvah to Plan for the Future

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 8, 2020

  What does the Torah have to say about a person making concrete plans for the eventuality of her death? Is it appropriate to sign a health care proxy or to make out a will? There is no better example than our patriarch, Jacob.…

Establishing Halakhic Marriage Norms in the New State

Rabbi Yitzhak Isaak Halevi Herzog (1888-1959) was Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of the State of Israel at the time of its founding. He had previously served as Chief Rabbi of Ireland, until he succeeded Rav Kook in 1936. Aside from his work in developing the institutions of the Israeli Rabbinate, he is most famous for his doctorate on the proper identification of tekhelet.…

Hair Covering Episode, Joy of Text 4:03

by 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. …

Rav Hisda’s Seduction Advice to His Daughters, Joy of Text 4:02

by Posted on March 11, 2019

These sources accompany the seduction episode of the Joy of Text podcast. 1. Shabbat, 140b בבלי מסכת שבת דף קמ עמוד ב אמר להו רב חסדא לבנתיה: תיהוי צניעתן באפי גברייכו, לא תיכלון נהמא באפי גברייכו, לא תיכלון ירקא בליליא, לא תיכלון תמרי בליליא, ולא תשתון שיכרא בליליא, ולא תיפנון היכא דמפני גברייכו.…

The Surrogacy Episode, Joy of Text 3:10

by Posted on March 11, 2019

On the Season 3 Finale we interview a Jewish woman who made the decision to be a surrogate and carry a child for someone else, with the support of her husband and their three young children. Carrie and Jamie Bornstein share personally and poignantly about what it means to help another couple become parents, and how their kids and their community dealt with this new reality.…

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? …

Should a Father Personally Circumcise His Son? – The Mitzvot of Bris and Milah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 17, 2018

QUESTION: I am the father of a newborn beautiful baby boy.  The bris is coming up in a few days.  Since I have a mitzvah to give my son a bris, and the mohel is just an agent, is it better that I do the bris myself (after the mohel sets everything up, of course)?…

Rachel’s Cry: Single Women and Pru U’rvu

To read this teshuva in hebrew click here: Should community resources be allocated to help an older single woman become pregnant using artificial insemination?[1] Rav Shlomo Aviner addresses this question as follows: Question: A single woman, about forty years old, who realistically doesn’t expect to marry and wishes, with all her soul, to have a child to love and devote herself  to – is she permitted halakhically to use artificial insemination to bear a child?…

Rachel’s Cry: Single Women and Pru U’rvu (Hebrew)

To read this teshuva in english click here:…

May A Single Man Fulfill The Mitzvah Of Pru U’rvu (procreation)? (Hebrew)

Honoring an Abusive Parent?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 1, 2018

Must a Person Honor and Mourn for an Abusive Parent? The short answer is “no.”  One of the core principles in halakha when it comes to our obligation to others is hayekha kodmin, meaning our first ethical obligation is to ourselves.  …

Saying Kaddish for a non-Jewish Parent

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 25, 2018

May a Jew by choice sit shivah and say kaddish for their non-Jewish parent? To answer this question we must address two issues: (1) What is halakhah’s view of the parent-child relationship in these cases? The gemara states, “A person who converts is like a newborn infant,” (Yevamot 22a).…