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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

Hair Covering Episode, Joy of Text 4:03

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 11, 2019

These sources accompany the hair covering episode of the Joy of Text podcast.   A. Nature of Obligation The verse in Numbers {source ‎1} implies that women (perhaps specifically married women) would normally have their head covered. This point is made explicit from Sifrei {source ‎2}, which emphasizes the fact that this was a norm, and does not frame it as an obligation. …

Rav Hisda’s Seduction Advice to His Daughters, Joy of Text 4:02

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 11, 2019

These sources accompany the seduction episode of the Joy of Text podcast. 1. Shabbat, 140b בבלי מסכת שבת דף קמ עמוד ב אמר להו רב חסדא לבנתיה: תיהוי צניעתן באפי גברייכו, לא תיכלון נהמא באפי גברייכו, לא תיכלון ירקא בליליא, לא תיכלון תמרי בליליא, ולא תשתון שיכרא בליליא, ולא תיפנון היכא דמפני גברייכו.…

The Surrogacy Episode, Joy of Text 3:10

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 11, 2019

On the Season 3 Finale we interview a Jewish woman who made the decision to be a surrogate and carry a child for someone else, with the support of her husband and their three young children. Carrie and Jamie Bornstein share personally and poignantly about what it means to help another couple become parents, and how their kids and their community dealt with this new reality.…

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? …

Partnering With God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 24, 2019

How many commandments were given at Mt. Sinai?  The answer, surprisingly, is not 10.  The Torah speaks of the aseret ha’devarim, the Ten Utterances, not the Ten Commandments.  When one gets down to counting the commandments, she finds that the first of the utterances, “I am the Lord your God,” is not exactly a commandment, and that some, like “You shall have no other gods before me; you shall not bow down to them nor shall you worship them,” actually contain 3 commandments, if not more.…

Birkat HaMazon and the Oral Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 2, 2018

Sefat Emet teaches that those who were to enter the Land of Israel would be the beginning of the Oral Torah – the taking of the Divine word and interpreting it and applying it to the lived reality of their lives. …

Rachel’s Cry: Single Women and Pru U’rvu

To read this teshuva in hebrew click here: Should community resources be allocated to help an older single woman become pregnant using artificial insemination?[1] Rav Shlomo Aviner addresses this question as follows: Question: A single woman, about forty years old, who realistically doesn’t expect to marry and wishes, with all her soul, to have a child to love and devote herself  to – is she permitted halakhically to use artificial insemination to bear a child?…

Rachel’s Cry: Single Women and Pru U’rvu (Hebrew)

To read this teshuva in english click here:…

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

Ancient History: What is the Point of Learning Other People’s Stories?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on August 3, 2017

  Judaism today sees itself as a civilization that honors history above most things. And the history that we venerate is almost always our own. The Torah, however, in various places emphasizes the importance of knowing other people’s histories. This actually appears odd to us (as well as to early sages) precisely because knowing the history of ancient peoples, particularly those that have disappeared in the wake of our arrival on the scene, seems irrelevant to identity formation which, for us, is history’s primary purpose.…

Slow Down, Change Ahead: Is Gradualism a Jewish Value?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on August 3, 2017

  Gradualism has become one of the loadstone values of Orthodox Judaism. However, the classical sources as well as the modern reflect a variety of attitudes towards this value. Some consider gradualism to be a value in itself, but most consider it to be simply the most efficacious way of getting things done.…

Five Pillars of Orthodox Judaism or Open Charedism

by Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Posted on August 2, 2017

Click here to read Rabbi Asher Lopatin’s article “Five Pillars of Orthodox Judaism or Open Charedism” originally published in Jewish Theology in Our Time: A New Generation Explores the Foundations & Future of Jewish Belief.…