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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Talmud

Challenging Authority in Horiyot

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 5, 2010

Tractate Horiyot is the last tractate in Seder Nezikin and the smallest tractate in Shas.  It presumably is part of Seder Nezikin as a type of an appendix to tractate Sanhedrin and Makkot, which deal with the power and authority of the Beit Din – to represent the people, the fix the calendar, to judge court cases and to inflict punishment – from monetary fines, to lashes, to the death penalty. …

Mesekhet Avoda Zara and Jewish Identity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 29, 2010

The last dapim of mesekhet Avoda Zara which address central issues in Kashrut and end with a discussion of kashering and toveling vessels.  This is a somewhat unusual way to end a mesekhet that is devoted to discussing the world of idolatry and its dangers. …

Rabbi Eliezer vs. Rabbi Akiva: Two Models of Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 23, 2010

The seventh chapter of Sanhedrin ends with a powerful aggadata: When R. Eliezer fell sick, R. Akiva and his companions went to visit him… The Sages, seeing that his mind was clear, entered his chamber and sat down at a distance of four cubits.…

The Evolution of the Mitzvah of Matzah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 19, 2010

While we rule that it is a mitzvah d’oraitta to eat matzah on the seder night, it is far from clear as far as the simple sense of the verses are concerned. It is interesting to see how Hazal interpreted the verses to come to this conclusion.…

A Pseudo-Korban Pesach

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 12, 2010

There is good evidence that the practice of a pseudo-korban pesach existed – not on bringing it on Har HaBayit without a Beit HaMikdash, but outside of the environs of the Beit HaMikdash and Jerusalem. The Tosefta in Ohalot (3:9) tells of a burial that took place in Beit Dagan on erev Pesach.…

Finding God in the Megillah – How the Megillah Got to be Part of the Tanakh

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 26, 2010

The Gemara (Megilah 7a) raises the question whether Megilat Esther is part of the canon, is part of Tanakh. The halakhic expression of this is whether it is metamei et ha’yadayim, ritually impurifies the hands. As is recorded in Mishna Yadayim (3:5 and 4:6), kitvei hakodesh, holy Scriptures, cause tumat yadayim, impurity of the hands.…

Is the Ketuvah d’Oraitta or d’Rabanan?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 19, 2010

There is a debate in the gemara (Ketuvot 10a) whether the ketuvah is mi’di’orraita, Biblical, or mi’di’rabanan, rabbinic. The position that ketuvah is Biblically-based is an individual one, that of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, and he even states this position somewhat tentatively – mikan samkhu li’ktuvat isha min haTorah, from here the Rabbis found support to the institution of the ketuvah from the Torah.…

Two Stages of Marriage

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 12, 2010

As is well known, there are two stages of marriage, kiddushin and nissuin. Kiddushin is referred to in the Torah as erusin, and nissuin is referred to as either kicha, taking (“Who is the man who has betrothed a woman and not taken her” – Deut 20:7) or beulat ba’al, a woman who has had sex with her husband (see Deut 22:22-23).…

Formalism and Reality in Hilkhot Niddah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 5, 2010

One of the lesser well-known laws of niddah requires that husband and wife separate from sex on the day (or night) that the wife is expecting to get her period. This day is called the veset, and this requirement is learned from the verse “And you shall separate the Children of Israel from their impurity” (Lev.…

Kiddushin as a Speech Act

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 29, 2010

The act of kiddushin, the giving of the ring, is accompanied by a verbal statement – harei at mekudeshet li bi’taba’at zo ki’dat Moshe vi’Yisrael, “behold you are betrothed to me with this ring, according to the laws of Moshe and Israel.”…

Kiddushin: Acquisition or Partnership?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 22, 2010

When studying kiddushei kesef – kiddushin through the giving of an object of value – one must ask: is kiddushin is an actual kinyan, act of acquisition, or not? The two sides of this question can be seen in the development of the practice of giving a ring.…

Birkhat Eirusin: Birkhat Ha’Mitzvah or Birkhat Ha’Shevach?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 15, 2010

Birkhat eirusin, the blessing made prior to the giving of the ring, is directly tied to how we define the religious significance of the institution of marriage. Regarding the brakha itself, the Talmud (Ketuvot 7b) records the text of the brakha and a debate as to whether we close it with a final brakha (which is our practice).…