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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

Women and The Reading of the Megillah

by Rabbi Avi Weiss Posted on July 5, 2016

May women read the Megillah for other women, and for that matter, may women read the Megillah for men? This was originally written for the Torah U-Maddah Journal in 1999. Click here to read the full piece.…

Women and Kriyat HaTorah

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz (Posted on March 1, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

A Torat Emet and a Torat Chaim

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 5, 2014

Ki Teitze is a parasha densely packed with mitzvot. Of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what their parameters are or how they are to be implemented. Should determining this be done only through technical and formal rules, or do values and underlying principles play a role?…

The Obligations of Tzedek

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 24, 2012

(An earlier version of this appeared in the 5769 AJWS Chag v’Chesed) The holiday of Shavuot is generally assumed to commemorate the giving of the Torah, which occurred on the sixth of Sivan. In the Torah, however, Shavuot is only described as an agricultural holiday and occurs not on any particular calendrical date, but at the culmination of seven weeks from the beginning of the harvest season that occurs on the second day of Pesach.…

Is Christianity Avoda Zara to Christians?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 16, 2011

As both Chanukkah and Christmas draw near, it is appropriate to discuss of the evolution of halakha’s approach to Christianity. Tosafot in Bekhorot, 2b, had said that one does not transgress by having a Christian take an oath in the name of God and a saint.…

Torah from our Beit Midrash

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 2, 2011

  While a little postponed, I would like to finish up the discussion from two weeks ago on the topic of attitudes towards Christianity, which arose in the daf yomi at the beginning of Bekhorot.  The Talmud (Bekhorot 2b) had stated that a person could not enter into a partnership with a non-Jew, lest the non-Jew have to take an oath, and he would then do so in the name of his god. …

Mesechet Berachot: Speaking of Christianity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 18, 2011

On the very first page (2b) of Mesechet Berachot, the Gemara discusses, on a bit of a tangent, the statement of the father of Shmuel that it is forbidden to go into partnership with a  non-Jew, lest non-Jew will be required to take an oath to verify his claim in a dispute, and this oath will be taken in the name of a foreign god. …

Mesechet Chullin: Our Limited Role as Creators

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 4, 2011

Towards the end of Mesechet Chullin, the Gemara – in the middle of a discussion about the impurity of animals, and the different components of their bodies – turned to a fascinating conversation about the diversity of the animals of creation, and the phenomenon of animals that are the product of cross-breeding (Chullin 127a): וכשהיה ר”ע מגיע לפסוק זה אומר (תהלים קד, כד) מה רבו מעשיך ה’ יש לך בריות גדלות בים ויש לך בריות גדלות ביבשה שבים אילמלי עולות ביבשה מיד מתות שביבשה אילמלי יורדות לים מיד מתות יש לך בריות גדלות באור ויש לך בריות גדלות באויר שבאור אילמלי עולות לאויר מיד מתות שבאויר אילמלי יורדות לאור מיד מתות מה רבו מעשיך ה’… אמר רב הונא בר תורתא פעם אחת הלכתי לוועד וראיתי נחש שהוא כרוך על הצב לימים יצא ערוד מביניהם וכשבאתי לפני ר’ שמעון החסיד אמר לי אמר הקב”ה הם הביאו בריה שלא בראתי בעולמי אף אני אביא עליהם בריה שלא בראתי בעולמי When R.…

Mitzvot and their Interpretation: The Role of Values and Narrative

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 12, 2011

Ki Teitze is a parsha densely packed with mitzvot. A new mitzvah appears almost every few verses, and sometimes even more frequently. It is, in a way, the parshat Mishpatim or the parshat Kedoshim of Devarim. Now, of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what their parameters are or how they are to be implemented.…

Mesechet Menachot: The Taxonomy of the Gemara’s Grains

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 20, 2011

The Mishna of Menachot 70a lists the five species of grain.  These species are of central importance in many halakhot.  Only bread made from these species of grains is considered bread, and gets the brakha of hamotzi.  Only matzah made from these grains is considered matzah, and can be used on the seder night.  …

Rabbeinu Tam’s Two Sunsets: When is it Nighttime?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 1, 2011

One of the key Tosafots in Shas (Menachot 20b, s.v., ini) discusses the position of Rabbeinu Tam that there are two sunsets – the visible one, and then one occurring almost an hour later, when the sun – according to Rabbinic cosmology – exists the tunnel of the opaque dome of the rakiya, sky or firmament, and begins to travel above the rakiya from West to East so it can rise again the next morning. …

Hilkhot Kashrut: Even Separated Foods Can be Treif

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 25, 2011

Previously we saw that when a meat and milk are cooked together, they may remain forbidden even after they are separated.  This depends on whether we understand the prohibition of meat and milk to be based on the fact that they were cooked together, which does not change even after they are separated, or based on the fact that there is a mixture of tastes, which would be negated once they are separated.  …