From the Archives of Tradition

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tradition-cabinetby R. Yitzchak Blau

Modern technology generates a host of new halakhic questions including difficulties in determining parenthood due to new reproductive options. If one women donates the egg and another carries the fetus, who is the mother? That debate highlights larger methodological issues. Should we utilize legal parallels even if they seem farfetched? For example is the halakhic status of a replanted stalk of grain in Jewish agricultural law relevant to our modern case of parenthood? Conversely, absent convincing halakhic analogies, should we turn to the world of aggada and midrash to get a sense for how Hazal conceived of motherhood? Can we do this even given our reluctance to derive Jewish law from the aggada? For the first approach, see the contribution of Rabbi J. David Bleich: link (PDF)
For the second, see Rav Ezra Bick’s essay: link (PDF)

About Yitzchak Blau

Rabbi Yitzchak Blau is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Orayta and also teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum. He is the author of Fresh Fruit and Vintage Wine: The Ethics and Wisdom of the Aggada and an Associate Editor of Tradition.

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