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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

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.…

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. …

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.…

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 a person in need.  …

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 כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּ֑וֹם אַתָּ֣ה וּבָנֶ֔יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ: וְשָׁ֨ב יְקֹוָ֧ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־שְׁבוּתְךָ֖ וְרִחֲמֶ֑ךָ וְשָׁ֗ב וְקִבֶּצְךָ֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֱפִֽיצְךָ֛ יְקֹוָ֥ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֖יךָ שָֽׁמָּה: אִם־יִהְיֶ֥ה נִֽדַּחֲךָ֖ בִּקְצֵ֣ה הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם מִשָּׁ֗ם יְקַבֶּצְךָ֙ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֔יךָ וּמִשָּׁ֖ם יִקָּחֶֽךָ: וֶהֱבִֽיאֲךָ֞ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֗יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֛רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יָרְשׁ֥וּ אֲבֹתֶ֖יךָ וִֽירִשְׁתָּ֑הּ וְהֵיטִֽבְךָ֥ וְהִרְבְּךָ֖ מֵאֲבֹתֶֽיךָ: וּמָ֨ל יְקֹוָ֧ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֛יךָ אֶת־לְבָבְךָ֖ וְאֶת־לְבַ֣ב זַרְעֶ֑ךָ לְאַהֲבָ֞ה אֶת־יְקֹוָ֧ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֛יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־ נַפְשְׁךָ֖ לְמַ֥עַן חַיֶּֽיךָ: וְנָתַן֙ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֔יךָ אֵ֥ת כָּל־הָאָל֖וֹת הָאֵ֑לֶּה עַל־אֹיְבֶ֥יךָ וְעַל־שֹׂנְאֶ֖יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר רְדָפֽוּךָ: וְאַתָּ֣ה תָשׁ֔וּב וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֖ בְּק֣וֹל יְקֹוָ֑ק וְעָשִׂ֙יתָ֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֹתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם: וְהוֹתִֽירְךָ֩ יְקֹוָ֨ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֜יךָ בְּכֹ֣ל׀ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה יָדֶ֗ךָ בִּפְרִ֨י בִטְנְךָ֜ וּבִפְרִ֧י בְהֶמְתְּךָ֛ וּבִפְרִ֥י אַדְמָתְךָ֖ לְטֹבָ֑ה כִּ֣י׀ יָשׁ֣וּב יְקֹוָ֗ק לָשׂ֤וּשׂ עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ לְט֔וֹב כַּאֲשֶׁר־שָׂ֖שׂ עַל־אֲבֹתֶֽיךָ: כִּ֣י תִשְׁמַ֗ע בְּקוֹל֙ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֤ר מִצְוֹתָיו֙ וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו הַכְּתוּבָ֕ה בְּסֵ֥פֶר הַתּוֹרָ֖ה הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֤י תָשׁוּב֙ אֶל־ יְקֹוָ֣ק אֱ-לֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ: And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt bethink thyself among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and hearken to His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul; that then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.…

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.…

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

Women and Kri’at Hatorah: Response to Rav Yoni Rosensweig

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