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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Science & Medical Ethics

Retelling the Story of Corona

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 27, 2021

How do we talk about this last year-and-a-half that we have been living through? What is the story that we tell? This week’s parsha opens with the mitzvah of bikkurim, of the bringing of the first fruits to the Temple. This mitzah involves giving those first fruits to the kohen (priest) and saying thanks to God in the form of a declaration.…

Tisha B’Av in the Time of Cholera

Rabbi Moshe Schick (1807-1879) was a major Hungarian halakhic authority during the second half of the 19th century. He was also a close pupil of the Chatam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer, Hungary, 1762-1839), with whom he studied in the Pressburg Yeshiva.…

Covid-19, Corona

Commemorating the Corona

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 22, 2021

Memory – not only the act of remembering, but nurturing and sustaining memory – is central to the Jewish ethos. “Zakhor” – you shall remember: remember what Amalek did; remember how you angered God; remember what God did to Miriam; remember the Sabbath day; remember when you stood at Mt Sinai; and of course, remember the day you were redeemed from Egypt.…

old hands; black and white hands; holding hands

Preparing for Our Final Moments

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 24, 2020

How can we leave behind a blessing once we are gone? “Va’yechi” – and he lived. Yaakov has come to the fullness of his life and knows that he will soon die. He calls Yosef to his bedside and broaches a subject that maybe Yosef would have preferred to avoid – his death, and the burial arrangements that must follow.…

Zakhor and Megillah For Those Under Quarantine

Question: Can people under quarantine fulfil the mitzvah of megillah by listening on the telephone or by participating via Zoom or the like?  What can these people do regarding listening to parashat Zakhor?   Summary: For megillah – One may rely on those Aharonim who rule that a person fulfils his or her obligation.…

The Mitzvah to Plan for the Future

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 8, 2020

  What does the Torah have to say about a person making concrete plans for the eventuality of her death? Is it appropriate to sign a health care proxy or to make out a will? There is no better example than our patriarch, Jacob.…

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? …

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.…

Fasting for Pregnant and Nursing Women – a teshuvah by Rabbi Nahum Rabbinovitch

Shulkhan Arukh (OH 554:5) states simply that pregnant and nursing women must fast on Tishah b’Av. Is this indeed the case?  What if she is concerned about her health, or the health of the baby? Is it permitted only if she is first feeling weak?…

May the Humra Di’R. Zeira be Relaxed in Cases of Halakhic Infertility?

Introduction “Halakhic infertility” occurs when observance of hilkhot niddah results in a woman ovulating only during the days that wife and husband are forbidden to be physically intimate. These situations result from post-biblical stringencies that lengthen the time of prohibition. This article discusses whether a couple may cease observing one such stringency, the humra di’R.…

May Kohanim Become Doctors – Part 2

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 22, 2018

Two weeks ago we began to explore the question of whether kohanim may become doctors according to halakhah.   We noted that three halakhic arguments could be advanced to question the applicability of this prohibition to the case at hand: (1) Kohanim nowadays are only presumed (hazakha) to be kohanim and might only have the status of doubtful (safek) kohanim; (2) If we are all presumed to be tamei nowadays, then, according to Ra’avad, kohanim do not violate a Biblical prohibition by becoming tamei again by a corpse; (3) According to Yereim, it is not a violation for kohanim to become tamei by the corpse of a non-Jew. …

May A Single Man Fulfill The Mitzvah Of Pru U’rvu (procreation)?

To read this teshuva in hebrew click here: Introduction Until the last generation, marriage and reproduction always went together. The only legitimate way of producing children was in the framework of marriage since non-marital sexual relationships are halakhically forbidden or, minimally, strongly discouraged.[1]…