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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

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.…

Iggros Moshe A to Z: G is for Gender

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 14, 2019

Episode 23 Rabbi Linzer looks at a famous teshuvah of Rav Moshe that takes on the challenge from feminism to the role of women in halakha and Jewish life. Why are women not obligated equally? Can halakha change to accommodate shifting social realities?…

Iggros Moshe A to Z: F is for Fertility

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 31, 2018

Episode 20 Rabbi Linzer looks at a teshuvah about whether a testicular biopsy for the purpose of aiding a man’s fertility makes him a petzuah daka – injured in a way that would prohibit him from marrying. Along the way, Rav Moshe makes astonishing claims about the relationship between science and halakhic change.…

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.…

Iggros Moshe A to Z: B is for Birth Control

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 9, 2018

BONUS: Intro Episode; B is for Birth Control Episode 4: Birth Control; the IUD For English translations click here. Episode 5: Birth Control; the Condom For English translations click here. Episode 6: Birth Control; A Woman’s Choice…

Iggros Moshe A to Z: A is for America

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 8, 2018

Episode 1: Educational Fraud Click here for a PDF of this teshuvah. Episode 2: Tenants’ Rights Click here for a PDF of this teshuvah. Episode 3: The Death Penalty Click here for a PDF of this teshuvah.…

A Sojourner or a Resident?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 1, 2018

Ger vi’toshav anokhi imakhem, “A sojourner and a resident am I in your midst” (Gen. 23:4).  Avraham’s description of his status in the land of Canaan – as both someone living among the inhabitants of the land, and yet not fully one of them – powerfully captures the experience of immigrants in general, and that of Jews in America starting from the first wave of major immigration in 19th century, in particular. …

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)?…

How Soon Must I Build My Sukkah: A Teshuva by The Avnei Nezer

Translation by Rabbi Avi Schwartz, introduction by Rabbi Dov Linzer   Rabbi Avraham Bornsztain (1838-1910) was the first Sochatchover Rebbe. He was a leading posek of the 19th century. His responsa, Sheilot U’teshuvot Avnei Nezer cover all 4 sections of Shulhan Arukh.…

May One Who Eats on Yom Kippur Due to Medical Needs Serve as a Shaliach Tzibbur? A Teshuvah from Rav Asher Weiss

Translation by Rabbi Avi Schwartz, introduction by Rabbi Dov Linzer   Rabbi Asher Weiss(1953- ) is the current Rosh Kollel of Machon Minchas Asher L’Torah V’Horaah in Israel. Rav Asher was born to a Sens-Klausenburg Hassidic family and grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn.…