Tag Archives: Halakhah

Ingredients of Rabbinic Leadership

TorahWeb once again produces a relevant and significant statement by a respected scholar from the ranks of Yeshiva University-RIETS roshei yeshivah. This week, R. Dr. Michael Rosensweig discusses the elements that make a successful rabbinic leader: The need for breadth of vision in halachic leadership obviously extends to single rabbinic authorities striving to emulate the model of Moshe and the ...

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Approaches to Midrash Halakhah

This post is in response to a question that Ezra Butler posted to his blog about “three schools of thought, each believing diametrically opposite beliefs about the root of rabbinic law. is it divine like the gaonim, man-learned like maimonidies, or man-chosen like nachmanidies.” I. Introduction In a 1994 lecture a Harvard Law School, Prof. Moshe Halbertal of Hebrew University ...

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Organ Donation III

A rundown of positions on Brain Death from an article by R. Yitzchok Breitowitz titled “The Brain Death Controversy in Jewish Law“: 1. As noted, Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler has been the most vigorous advocate for the halachic acceptability of brain death criteria. In his capacity as chairman of the RCA’s Biomedical Ethics Committee, Rabbi Tendler spearheaded the preparation of ...

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Organ Donation II

From a 1989 article by R. Ahron Soloveichik titled “Death According to the Halacha”: A person who becomes devoid of respiration but who still has cardiac activity is considered semi-alive and semi-dead. Consequently, if someone will kill him, he will be considered a murderer. Hence, it is absolutely forbidden (yehareg ve-al ya’avor) to cut out the heart of that person ...

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Flatbush Eruv

In case anyone is dying to know my thoughts on the controversial Flatbush Eruv that was officially unveiled a few weeks ago, this website adequately expresses my view. If you held of the old Flatbush Eruv (put up by the Va’ad ha-Rabbanim decades ago) then the new one just adds some hiddurim. If you did not hold of the old ...

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Morality and Halakhah II

Another gem from the previously mentioned article by R. Shalom Carmy: In recent years we often hear from those who insist the old anti-­Semitic propaganda had it right – that the teachings of the Torah about Gentiles are, God forbid, such as would repel those Jews and non-Jews who take common “perennial” morality seriously. The Rabbinic establishment and those it ...

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The Bialystoker Controversy III

Updating readers on The Bialystoker Controversy… I sat next to the rabbi of the Bialystoker Synagogue at a wedding a few weeks ago. I brought up the controversy in which he was involved and told him my take on the issue. To remind you, this is what I posted a few weeks ago: He could have stopped here and said ...

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Homosexuality in Halakhah V

I have been meaning to blog R. Chaim Rapoport’s excellent book Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View. The author is a prominent rabbi in London who, though a Lubavitcher hasid, tends to a mainstream synagogue and serves on the Chief Rabbi’s cabinet. The author is clearly an expert in halakhah and a master bibliographer. Additionally, he has written his ...

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Post-modern Objections to Academic Jewish Studies

R. Walter Wurzburger, “Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik as Posek of Post-Modern Orthodoxy” in Tradition (1994:1), p. 7 The Rav’s objection to the employment of modern historic and textual scholarship to ascertain the meaning of halakha reflects not naive traditionalism but highly sophisticated post-modern critical thought. He insists that halakha operate with its own unique canons of interpretation. According to R. ...

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Studying Heresy

There is a passage in R. Ahron Soloveitchik’s Logic of the Heart, Logic of the Mind (pp. 45-47) regarding the study of biblical criticism and other modern heresies. Because it is a long passage, I will break it up with short comments. The initial story about R. Moshe Soloveitchik: A professor who taught Bible in a college once came to ...

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