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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

The Ox that Gored and the Meaning of Laws in the Bible

by Dr. Shalom Holtz Posted on October 21, 2016

Women Leading Selichot: A Response to Rabbi Ysoscher Katz

Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on October 10, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

May a Woman Lead Selichot and the Recital of God’s Thirteen Attributes of Mercy? (English)

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz (Posted on October 9, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

Should Torah be a Choice?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 7, 2016

Although voluntary buy-in is a more motivational incentive than extrinsic reward and certainly more than threat of punishment, there may still be good reason to insist that Jewish education and general keeping of mitzvot be mandatory and not a choice. Declaring something as mandatory emphasizes its importance, and, despite emotional objections, it can help ingrain habits (especially in children) so that any alternative would be unthinkable.…

Does the Torah Make You Wise?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 6, 2016

It may seem odd to us that people would ask a rabbi who to marry or vote for, but the Torah, in fact, does have reference to all aspects of our lives and the experts in Torah may well have wisdom and advice to impart in all areas of our lives.…

What is a Halakhic Jewish Identity?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 6, 2016

Apart from the “Shema Yisra’el” with which we are so familiar, Parshat Va’etchanan has three other instances where we see similar instructions for Israel to listen. What do the Other Shema Yisraels have that our Shema doesn’t. Considering their emphasis, wouldn’t it be better to recite them twice daily rather than our Shema? …

May a Woman Lead Selichot and the Recital of God’s 13 Principles of Mercy? A Response to Rabbi Dov Linzer in Hebrew

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz (Posted on September 27, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

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 verses use in the exhortations against it.…

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 find them again in Parashat Eikev: The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.…

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.…

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.…

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.…