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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

Tzniut, Halakha and the Male Gaze: Lecture and Sources

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 10, 2016

This lecture was composed in the context of this op-ed in the New York Times. These sources also accompany the Season 2 Episode 7 episode of the Joy of Text podcast. Introduction There is a general sense in the frum community that tzniut is a concept that applies almost exclusively to women and to how they dress.  …

Jewish Social Justice: A Universalist Mandate?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 8, 2016

In halakha, our obligations towards the other are mostly, if not exclusively, directed towards our fellow Jews.  In other lectures [hyperlink here to Circles of Responsibility and to the Jew-Gentile lectures that are relevant], we explore to what extent there is a basis in halakha for an obligation of assistance and support towards Gentiles as well.…

Social Justice– Mandate or Mixed Message?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 5, 2016

Many Jews champion social justice as a Torah mandate of tikkun olam.  This term contains two notions – one, a universalist ethos, a care for the world at large, and not just the Jewish community.  And two, it is a call to address the deep, systemic problems within society – to get at the root causes of injustice and inequality, and not just focus on addressing its symptoms,  such as helping individuals who are without food, or health care, or education.…

Social Justice– Circles of Responsibility

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 5, 2016

The Torah in many places obligates us to take care of our “brother”.  It is clear from many verses that this word often does not mean generically “another person,” but specifically someone of our tribe – a fellow member of the people of Israel.   …

Social Justice and Jewish Leadership

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 5, 2016

Two major figures in the Torah – Moshe and Avraham – act in ways to protect others who are being oppressed, even those who are not their own people.  In this way, that can serve as a model for a religious leadership that incorporates a vision of a universalist social justice.…

Saying Al Ha’Nissim on Yom Ha’atzmaut

Buying Non-Kosher Food

The Mitzvah of Shofar

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 4, 2016

This shiur focuses on the question of whether the mitzvah of shofar on Rosh HaShana is to blow or to hear the shofar. In addition to addressing some of the halakhic aspects of that question, it attempts to see how the טעמי המצוה interact with its halakhic formulation, and how this enables a fuller way of resolving some of the halakhic tensions between hearing and blowing.…

The Mandate of Inclusion

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 3, 2016

Introduction [source 1] When it comes to our responsibilities towards those with disabilities, whether physical, educational developmental, or social-emotional – and indeed, any person or group that is being or can easily be marginalized – we first must problematize the use of the word “inclusion.”  This word suggests a group or person who is on the outside that we – those who are the true members of the group – will now bring close and include among us.  …

Kiddushin: Ownership or Partnership? Part 5: Kinyan and Kiddushin in Competition – Gemara and Rishonim

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 3, 2016

Introduction We have seen how the mohar transformed from money up front and a type of bride-price to money paid at the end of the marriage, becoming our Rabbinic ketuvah.  We have also seen how parallel to that the money given at the beginning of the marriage changed from being a significant sum to a small symbolic amount –a perutah – thus transforming the act from one of kinyan to one of kiddushin.  …

Kiddushin: Ownership or Partnership? Part 4: From Kinyan to Kiddushin in the Talmud

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 3, 2016

Introduction In Section A, we looked at the history of the ketuvah, and saw how it evolved from the Biblical mohar, and how this came with a raising of the wife’s status in the marriage. Here, in Section B, we will see how the shift from mohar to ketuvah was paralleled by a shift from kinyan to kiddushin in the act of the marriage itself.  …

Kiddushin: Ownership or Partnership? Part 3: From Mohar to Ketuvah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 31, 2016

In the previous lecture we saw how the institution of marriage in the Torah seems to be based on a concept of ownership, and that this is paralleled by the way in which the marriage is effectuate – the giving of a mohar or bride-price from the groom to the father of the bride.  …