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Halacha (Jewish Law)

All About Matza, March 29

Eating matza is one of the most well-known mitzvot of the seder and Pesach itself, but there are various kinds of matza and various customs about when to eat them. Join this course to learn all about matza including shmura matza, machine-made matza, the difference between the two, and how halacha deals with technology in making matza.
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Are Mezzuzot Lucky Charms?

One of the mitzvot which make the Jewish people distinctive is the mitzvah of mezuzah. Even non-Jews know that we put "little boxes" on our front doors. In the popular imagination the mezuzah is viewed as an an amulet or sort of "lucky charm" that Jews put on their doors to keep bad luck away. This is of course a trivialization of the mitzvah. In the course of these shiurim we will study the interpretations given by our sages to this mitzvah as well as the Halachot which govern it. I hope that the shiurim will be both enlightening as well as instructive.
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Astrology: Is it Kosher?

Is it permitted to rely on astrology to guide our lives? Can we use astral forces to heal sickness and disease? How can we distinguish between prohibited superstition and permitted wisdom? We will study the opinions of the great rabbis from the Talmud through the modern authorities. Our sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Bal Tashchit: Judaism, Halacha and the Environment

The laws of bal tashchit, the prohibition of wasteful destruction, are of broad application in protecting the environment. We will examine rabbinic sources from the days of the Mishna through contemporary authorities in order to determine what is halachically permitted and what is prohibited. PLEASE NOTE: This class requires a minimum of 10 paying students in order to ensure its continuation this zman.

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Blessings on Bread and Cake

When is the blessing for bread (המוציא לחם מן הארץ) required and when do we say the blessing on cake (בורא מיני מזונות)? When is pizza considered like a pie (מזונות) and when is it considered like a piece of bread with topping (לחם)? What is the difference between true bread and "mezonot bread"? When eating matsa, Ashkenazim wash hands and say the blessing on bread (המוציא); Sefaradim say the blessing on cake or crackers (מזונות) when eating matsa. Why? How much cake must one eat for the cake to be considered a meal? Our primary sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and analyze them.
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Can a Non-Jew Sin for You?

The prohibition of asking non-Jews to do what halacha prohibits us from doing applies through the length and breadth of Torah. Just as we cannot sterilize or neuter animals, we cannot ask non-Jews to neuter our farm animals or household pets. Just as we cannot violate the sanctity of Shabbat and Yom Tov, we cannot ask a non-Jew to perform prohibited actions for us. In this series we will examine the parameters of this prohibition and learn under what circumstances the great rabbis have been lenient and permit asking non-Jews to act for us. Our primary sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and analyze them.
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Charity: To Whom Should We Give Tsekadah?

We all have limited budgets for charitable giving. No one can fulfill all the needs of all the poor. Are we obligated to help all who ask?  Who has precedence in receiving help? We will study the opinions of the great rabbis from the Talmud through the modern authorities. Our sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Chinuch: The Halachot Governing the Raising of Children

Chinuch – Educating the Young in Mitzvot

The commandments of the Torah do not apply to children under the age of Bar/Bat Mitzva. But we are obligated to educate them in mitzvot and train them to perform the mitsvot correctly.

We will study the principle rabbinic sources defining the parent’s and the community’s obligations vis-à-vis their children.

 

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Contemporary Conversions: Issues in Giyur Today (May 5- 19)

The question of whether the presence of a rabbinic court is legally necessary for a conversion to be valid has been the subject of much recent halachic discussion.  In this course we will explore this issue by reading primary halachic sources in their original context, as they were understand through history, and for their contemporary implications.
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Contemporary Halachic Issues Part 2

In this class we will follow the path of the modern-day posek and discover, through the texts that he would have used, the modern application of our previously established halachic rulings. Averaging a new question every two classes, we will learn through the relevant texts, understand the principle to be gleaned from each of them and then apply them, step-by-step, to our halachic query. PLEASE NOTE: This class requires a minimum of 10 paying students in order to ensure its continuation this zman.

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Contemporary Jewish Law Part 4

In this class, we will follow the path of a Posek to not only arrive at the bottom-line halakha for varied contemporary halakhik issues but also more fully appreciate the halakhik process. We will discuss questions such as printing mezuzot, water fountains on shabbat, IV assistance during Yom Kippur and others.

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Drunkenness on Purim, March 14 & 21

The approaches of the principle poskim to the question of drunkenness on Purim: Is drunkenness permitted, prohibited, or optional?
Are the rules the same for women as for men?
The sources will be in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Engaging the Mind in the Sukka

Are you in the Sukka or is the Sukka in you? Discover the special kavvana, the special focus of the mind needed for fulfilling this mitzvah.  
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Exploring the Halachic Process: Hilchot Brachot

We will go through the laws of Brachot (blessings) from the sources of the Talmud and continue through to see how we got to the practical application of the laws today.
 
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From Long Life to Long Life: A Lesser Known Section of the Aruch haShulchan

Beginning from the laws of honoring parents, we will try to cover much of the Aruch haShulchan's discussion ranging from there until the laws of sending away the mother bird, halachot that sandwich other interesting halachot, such as those of Torah study, giving charity, and affixing mezuzot to our doorposts.
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Halachic Framework for Meaningful Yamim Noraim

The Season of Tishrei is a time for celebration and reflection. Much of the observances, some well known, others less so, can add resonance to the Holidays if we know a little bit more about what they symbolize.  Make this Yom Tov special by enhancing your understanding of the rituals and customs associated with this season of awe.

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Halachot of Eating Non-Jewish Bread?

According to the Shulchan Aruch, we should not eat bread baked by non-Jews from Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur. In this mini-course we will examine the writings of the great poskim regarding the importance of pat Yisrael, bread baked by Jews, during Elul and the rest of the year. Our primary sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Halachot of Electricity on Shabbat

Modernity brought a number of questions up in Jewish law, in particular surrounding the use of electricity on Shabbat. How does Jewish law view use of electricity on shabbat? In this course we will look at some of the earlier sources, such as the Chazon Ish zt"l and Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l, as well as some more current poskim including Rav Asher Weiss and Rav Nachum Rabinowitz of Ma'aleh Adumim.
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Halachot of Reflecting on the Positive

All year long, and especially during Elul and Tishrei, it is important to judge people favorably - הוי דן כל אדם לכף זכות. We will study the opinions of the great rabbis defining when we should accept that others are guilty of sin and when we should judge them favorably. Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Hilchot Geirut: The Laws of Conversion

What is the Halachic approach to converting to Judaism? We will start with the Gemara as background and then learn the teshuvot and discuss the various approaches the Rabbis hold with regard to conversion.

This class is dedicated to a Refuah Shelaima (full recovery) for Stella Frankl, Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah.

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Hilchot Shabbat: Benfiting from Others’ Work

Among the topics to be covered: benefiting from the violation of Shabbat and profiting from legitimate work on Shabbat; asking non-Jews to do work; use of solar or chemical heaters for cooking; and brushing teeth on Shabbat.

 

Participants are encouraged to suggest other topics of interest to them.  For each topic we will focus on the opinions of the leading authorities.

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Hilchot Shabbat: Mukzah

The halachic process is a deliberate and exacting one. Virtually every ritual we perform is the result of a conscious dialectic process that reflects thousands of years of discussion. We will use the most common rituals of Shabbat--Kiddush, Havdalah and the Three Meals-- as a gateway to understanding the way these rituals originated and evolved to their present form. Studies will also cover a more in-depth introduction to the laws of Shabbat, such as bishul (cooking), borer (separating) and muktzah with additional commentaries of Rishonim (medieval commentaries), Achronim (latter commentaries) and modern day Poskim (Halachic experts). PLEASE NOTE: This class requires a minimum of 10 paying students in order to ensure its continuation this zman.

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Hilchot Yeshivat Sukka

We will be delving into the complex halachot of dwelling in the Sukka, using the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura as our foundation.  Amongst the topics we'll be covering: The Mitzvah and its Origins; Appropriate, inappropriate and mandatory activities within the confines of the Sukka - and which of these uses trigger the Bracha;  Exemptions from the mitzva and the special status of the first night of the Chag.
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How do Jews have Fun?

Some may say the world is your "oyster" but does Judaism put limits on fun? What is the role of leisure time and activities according to classical Torah sources? ​​Where is the room for fun in a spiritual life? ​How does the tension between spirituality and "enjoyment" (popularly defined) play out in the synagogue vs. home, or on Shabbat vs. weekdays? ​We will study the opinions of the great poskim about​ leisure activities, games, sports, ​vacation travel, ​secular literature​, and more​.
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How to Spot a Heretic

Belief in God and the fundamental principles of Torah is essential in the performance of any mitzva. How, according to our Torah sources, can we identify Jewish heresy and who is disqualified from writing a Sefer Torah, performing ritual slaughter, circumcision, etc.?

This class is dedicated to a Refuah Shelaima (full recovery) for Stella Frankl, Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah.

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Illness and Fasting on Yom Kippur

What do the halachic sources say about illness and fasting on Yom Kippur? How do we define illness? When and to what extent can fasting be set aside in cases of illness, pregnancy, child-birth, and nursing?

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Inside Mezuza and Tefillin

What is written on the scroll of the Mezuza and Tefillin? Who writes it and how is it written? Take an in depth look at the laws of Mezuza and Tefillin with a Sofer Stam.
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Interpersonal Halachot of Tishrei

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Jewish Issues in Modern Society

A series of 2-session mini-courses:

a. The Law of the Land
When does halacha demand that we obey the law of the land?

b. Imitating non-Jewish Conduct
When are we prohibited from dressing like non-Jews or imitating any other form of non-Jewish behavior?

c. Smoking
What do the great poskim write about smoking (tobacco and other leaves)?

d. Euthanasia
Is there room in halacha to permit certain forms of euthanasia for terminally ill patients who are suffering? We will examine the opinions of the Shulchan Aruch and major contemporary authorities.

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Jewish Tradition and Non-Tradtional Jews

Our classical sources have harsh words for Jews who do not conform to halachic standards. They are excluded from Jewish communities and not counted in minyanim; they prohibit any wine they handle like idolaters; they are considered untrustworthy; and they cannot participate in community eiruvim. Unlike in classical times, today many Jews are not Torah observant. In this course we will study the opinions of the great poskim from the beginning of modern times ‘till today regarding the status of secular Jews. Our primary sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Jews & Non-Jews in the Kitchen

Judaism includes many special laws about foods cooked or prepared by non-Jews. In this class, we will focus on food cooked by non-Jews (Bishul Akum), bread baked by non-Jews (Pat Akum) and dairy products farmed by non-Jews (Chalav Akum).
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Jews and Non-Jews in the Kitchen

Judaism includes many special laws about foods cooked or prepared by non-Jews. In this class, we will focus on food cooked by non-Jews (Bishul Akum), bread baked by non-Jews (Pat Akum) and dairy products farmed by non-Jews (Chalav Akum).

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Jews in the Workplace (Jan 8, 15, 22 & 29)

(a) Professional Scholarship: is it proper to spend one's entire life studying Torah while being supported by the community?
(b) Marketing Prohibited Items: is it permitted to sell non-Kosher products to non-Jews?
January 8, 15, 22 and 29

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Laws of Honoring Parents

How far must you exert yourself to honor your parents? When is it correct to refrain from honoring your parents? We will survey the principle Talmudic sources, medieval authorities, and modern rabbis. Sources will be in the original Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Laws of Kindness Towards Animals

Jewish law prohibits causing animals to suffer. We will survey the sources of this prohibition and its application today. Halachic sources will be in the original Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Laws of Teshuva (Repentance)

We will prepare for the high holidays by studying Hilchot Tshuva- the Laws of Repentance.

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Laws of the Passover Seder

In this 3-part series with Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Brovender, we will learn the laws of leaning at the Seder. We will start with an introduction to the concept that in each generation we are to see ourselves as though we left Egypt. We will discuss leaning during the four cups, and the idea of leaning while telling the story of the Exodus. We will conclude in the third session by connecting the four cups with ideas of the Redemption.

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Laws of Vows

Sound familiar: "I swear to God I will never do it again!" How many times have you said this and more importantly -can you 'swear to God?'
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Lost & Found

In Jewish law we have the concept of "Hashavat Aveida", returning a lost object. To what lengths must one go to find an object's owner and return the lost item? What should one do if the owner cannot be found? Are the rules different for something of greater value? Join Rabbi Dr. Stuart Fischman to discuss these and other fascinating topics regarding lost and found items.
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Maaser: Giving one tenth of your income for charity

Is tithing income an obligation or a good custom? How should maaser be calculated? To what purposes should the money be used? We will study the principle sources and opinions. Texts are in Hebrew and will be fully translated during class.

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Marit Ayin (the Appearance of Sin)

Some things are prohibited because of the appearance of sin. For example, it is prohibited to eat meat together with almond milk. On the other hand, many things are permitted despite their similarity to Torah prohibitions. For example, it is permitted to drink red wine even though it might look like blood. In this course we will examine the principle sources to determine when the prohibition of mar'it ayin applies and when it does not apply.   Primary sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Matzah at the Seder

One of the main components of the mitzvot of Passover is the consumption of Matzah at the Seder. Learn more about what is required and what it all means.

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Measurements: How Much to Eat at the Seder

How much matsa must be eaten to fulfill the mitsva on Seder night?
How big must the cup for Seder night be and how much wine must you drink?

We will survey the opinions of the great authorities and draw conclusions based on their writings.  

Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain the sources.

 
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Medication on Passover, March 28 & April 4

The halachot of medicines that contain chamets. Must they be sold to a non-Jew? Can they be swallowed or applied to the skin on Pesach? Can they be purchased and used on Pesach?
The sources will be in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Minhagim: The Nature of the Obligation

It’s Tradition!

Minhag is one of the cornerstones of our religious practice. We will study the principle rabbinic sources dealing with the obligation to conform to minhag. How and when does a minhag become mandatory? Can minhagim be dropped? What happens when minhag leads to tension and strife?

 

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Mini-Series: Mysticism & Kashrut

Many kashrut issues revolve around mystical concepts in the rules of kosher eating rather than prohibitions of the Torah. In this series of classes we will discuss a number of such issues with an aim to understanding the relationship between mystical or spiritual injury on the one hand and halachic violation on the other.
During this course, we will cover the following topics:
Leaving Water Uncovered over Night – 2 sessions
Mixing Fish and Meat – 2 sessions
Mixing Fish and Milk – 2 sessions
Peeled Onions, Garlic, and Eggs Left Uncovered over Night – 2 sessions
Eating Organs: Heart, Brains, and Liver – 2 sessions This course will be divided into five 2-week sessions, with differen tissues being focused on separately. While this couse is complimentary, there is a suggested donation of $5 for each session.

This class is dedicated to a Refuah Shelaima (full recovery) for Stella Frankl, Tzuriya Kochevet Bat Sarah.

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Modesty and Halacha

Modesty is a great value in Torah life. We will study the opinions of the great poskim on a number of issues, for example: head covering for married women; women’s singing voice; standards of dress; and the tension between modesty and personal dignity. Although discussions of modesty often center on women, we will also learn how these principles apply to men.   We will survey the writings of the greatest authorities (פוסקים) on these issues. Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and analyze the sources.
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Mourning During the Omer, March 30, April 6

On the second day of Pesach we begin counting the Omer. In this mini-series we will study the sources governing various aspects of mourning that apply between Pesach and Shavu'ot.
The sources will be in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Muktseh: Prohibited Objects on Shabbat

Can you handle a pet or other animal on Shabbat? How do you handle medical devices on Shabbat? Are cookbooks muktseh? Can you move an electric fan or light on Shabbat? What do you do if a prohibited object is sitting on your dining room table? We will study the opinions of the great rabbis on these and other matters related to muktseh. Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Obligations of Tishrei

How far must one exert oneself to hear the shofar on Rosh HaShana? How far must one travel before Rosh HaShanah to be in a community where the shofar will be sounded? If one is ill, must one nonetheless go to hear the shofar?

Similar questions arise in connection with sukka and all other commandments during the year.

We will examine the approaches of the great posekim to the commandments of Tishrei. These approaches have vast implications for Torah observance the whole year.

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Obscure Halachot from Parshat Kedoshim

Parshat Kedoshim, the 19th Chapter of Vayikra contains over 30 mitzvot. We will aim to look at one mitzva each week, the verse from the Torah, the Mishna, Gemara, and other sources. This is an opportunity to learn about mitzvot that are generally considered obscure or are harder to understand in practice. Our ultimate goal will be to understand the connecting thread in the list of all these mitzvot. Some examples include sacrifices, agricultural laws such as Peah, Leket, Kilayim, and forbidden mixtures, mitzvot bein adam l'chavero (interpersonal laws), and more.

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Pluralistic Judaism

Are we permitted to work on a tsedaka project, an educational project, a political agenda, or anything else together with Jews whose goals and aspirations are contrary to our Torah principles? May we maintain active membership in a synagogue or any community organization even though we disagree with some or many of its values? May a Rabbi give his approval to food that is prepared according to an opinion that he rejects? When does halacha demand that we actively oppose those with whom we disagree, and when does halacha call for tolerance despite our disagreement? We will examine the opinions of major, contemporary poskim on these issues. Sources will be in Hebrew. In class we will translate and analyze them.
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Purim and its Mitzvot

​What are the ​Mitzvot (and the​ir​ meanings​) of the holiday of Purim? What does it mean to be commanded to eradicate Amalek - the Jewish people's nemesis in history and ideology? ​   As we explore the roots of the laws themselves in the Book of Esther, we'll analyze the multi-level meaning of the Megillah and the holiday itself. If you liked the classes on Chanuka, you'll love our Purim series (which follows the same model).
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Rambam’s Laws of Teshuva

In this course Rabbi Brovender will look at selections from the Rambam's Hilchot Teshuva, Laws of Repentance. How do we repent? What are the mechanics of Teshuva? What mindset is required? How do we set things right with God and with fellow man?
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Religious Coercion

Is there room in an ideal, religious world to coerce Jews to obey the commandments of the Torah? Can force be employed to guarantee that everyone fulfill the mitzvot and refrain from the prohibitions of the Torah? If a person is forced to sit in a sukka or eat matzah against his will, is his performance of the mitzva of any value? These questions are especially important in medical cases. Can a patient be forced, against his or her will, to accept medical treatment?   We will survey the writings of the greatest authorities (פוסקים) on these issues. Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and analyze the sources.
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Selected Responsa in Hilchot Bishul – Cooking on Shabbat

What qualifies as wet food or dry food?

When is food considered fully cooked?

What’s the deal with knobs? Shabbos settings? Electric platas? Chicken bones?

These are the kinds of questions I will be exploring in this shiur via selected responsa from R’ Moshe Feinstein, R’ Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, R’ Ovadia Yosef, and others. Though the topics covered may overlap with my other shiur on Hilchot Bishul, this is an independent shiur with different source material and might require a bit more previous technical knowledge from the talmidim.

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Tekiat Shofar: Halacha v’Agada

For many of us the shofar signifies the New Year but can it be used at weddings, concerts, and other occasions too? The 'ram's horn' doesn't just have to be from a ram but it does have to make the proper sounds on Rosh Hashana. This four-part two week course will cover the practical Halacha of the shofar and highlight it's use in Aggada,  non-legal Rabbinic literature from the Talmud, Midrash, and elsewhere.
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The Halachot of Chametz

We are prohibited from owning chametz on Pesach. What about being a partner in a concern which owns chametz or owning shares in a corporation which in turn owns chametz? What about owning chametz which is located in a time zone where it is not yet Pesach or where Pesach has already ended? What about chametz which is needed for medical reasons? All these questions and more will be covered. Sources are in Hebrew and will be fully translated during class.

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The Halachot of Shabbat: Cooking – Heating and Reheating Food

Exploring the intersection between the halachot of Shabbat and the art of food preparation. Included will be discussions of cooking before Shabbat with an eye towards reheating and service on Shabbat, and the aspects of food prep that take place on Shabbat itself. Don't be surprised if there are a few cooking tips and recipes thrown in as well!

Elul Zman: We only meet three times during this zman, so we will narrow the focus of the shiur to what kinds of food can be reheated on Shabbat.

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The Halachot of Shabbat: Cooking on Shabbat

Exploring the intersection between the halachos of Shabbos and the art of food preparation. Included will be discussions of cooking before Shabbos with an eye towards reheating and service on Shabbos, and the aspects of food prep that take place on Shabbos itself. Don't be surprised if there are a few cooking tips and recipes thrown in as well.

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The Halachot of Shabbat: Cooking, Heating and Reheating

Exploring the intersection between the halachos of Shabbos and the art of food preparation. Included will be discussions of cooking before Shabbos with an eye towards reheating and service on Shabbos, and the aspects of food prep that take place on Shabbos itself. Don’t be surprised if there are a few cooking tips and recipes thrown in as well.

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The Halachot of Shabbat: Reading, Playing and Applying Creams

We will cover the following topics with regards to the Halachot of Shabbat: Reading newspapers and secular literature on Shabbat; asking or allowing non-Jews to do work for us on Shabbat; using creams and lotions; playing ballgames. Sources are in Hebrew and will be fully translated during class. In addition, the participants are requested to suggest topics.

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The Halakhic System

This course will explore different aspects of the halakhic system. What are the limitations for rabbinic enactments? How do rabbinic decrees avoid the prohibition against adding to the Torah? Does pesak halakha reflect a commitment to absolute truth? What is the relationship between sage and prophet? We will explore these and other questions relating to the philosophy of halkha.
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The Laws of Sukkot

This class will be based on Mishna Brurah and various sh'eilot u'tshuvot (responsa). It will cover topics, such as going on a trip during Sukkot when you won't have access to a sukkah, cloth-wall sukkot, etc.

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The Obligation to Hear the Shofar: How much must one extend oneself to do a Mitzva?

How much effort must you make to fulfill the mitzva of Shofar? If there is no Shofar available in your neighborhood, must you travel before Rosh Hashana to be near a synagogue? If you are sick at home or hospitalized, must arrangements be made to bring you a shofar? Conclusions based on principle halachic sources will define how much effort must in general be made to fulfill the commandments of the Torah.

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The Principles of the Beit Din

Looking for a people's court? Try the Beit Din.  Rabbinical courts (Batei Din) have become the object of media attention in an unprecedented manner. They have been attacked as inefficient (at best) or vice-ridden (at worst). Nevertheless they are supposed to serve an important purpose. In this series of shiurim we will will study the principles which guide Rabbinic courts and hopefully we will understand the hows and whys of their operation.
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The Purim Feast: Where, When & How, March 22

The Purim seuda, or feast, is one of the most important mitzvot of the holiday. Unlike other festive occasions it only begins to take place during the day and not at night. Why is this the case and why is there a seuda in the first place? Who is invited and are there any special foods? Join this class to find out the answers to these questions and more.
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The Sacred Synagogue

The synagogue is the house of prayer, as well as the center of Jewish life. In this course we will explore the laws concerning etiquette, management, and the construction of the synagogue.
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The Two Shabbat Loaves

Meals on Shabbat and Yom Tom begin with two whole loaves of bread yet we often don't consider the depths and vast reasoning behind it. For instance, understanding the nature of Shabbat meals depends on whether the two loaves are required for the blessing on the bread, or the cutting of the bread, or whether their simple presence on the table is required. Investigating this issue will lead to an understanding of how to conduct a mitzva-meal properly. Furthermore, the halachic definition "wholeness" or "completeness" for the two loaves has implications throughout the length and breadth of Torah. Do women also require two loaves? This question itself opens a window to the approach of the poskim regarding the role of women in the spiritual life of the family and the community.   This course is dedicated in honor of Efrat Chana bat Yasmin. May her parents merit to raise her in Torah, Chupa and Maasim Tovim.
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Thoughts on Teshuva in Pirkei Avot

Ideas for self-reflection and inspiration for Elul from Pirkei Avot through careful analysis of the text.  An analysis of a selection for mishnayot from Pirkei Avot especially chosen for the themes of teshuva and renewal of our relationship with God.

 


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To Listen & Remember: Parshat Zachor, March 15

What is the mitzvah of Parshat Zachor and why is remembering before Purim so important? After all, there is a custom to say this as part of a number of remembrances after the daily morning prayers. Join this class and we will explore this topic through the Gemara, Rambam, Sefer hachinuch, and other sources.
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Treating the Sick on Shabbat and Yom Tov

What leniencies are acceptable for treating the sick on Shabbat and Yom Tov? We will define the various categories of illness and the opinions of the principle poskim governing their treatment. Primary sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Trustworthiness: Whom Can You Trust?

The foundation of kashrut is trust. How do you decide whether to believe a merchant regarding his merchandise? Can you trust a non-Jew who says that food is kosher? Can you rely on children? We will study the opinions of the great rabbis in defining trustworthiness. Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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Truth & Falsehood in Jewish Law

Torah insists on telling the truth, except when it doesn't. We will discuss several situations throught this semester in which the obligation to tell the truth becomes a bit fuzzy.
(a) Lying: When is it permissible to lie? May one lie in order to encourage people to perform more mitsvot? Should one lie in order to spare someone embarassment?

(b) Flattery: Flattery often straddles the boarder of falsehood. When is flattery prohibited.

(c) Bal Tosif: There are 613 commandments in the Torah. Adding to them is a perversion of the truth of the Torah. We will investigate the limits of this prohibition.

(d) Using a Stolen Shofar: Using any stolen item to fulfill a mitsva creates a contradiction between that mitsva and the sin of stealing. When, if ever, can a mitsva be fulfilled on the basis of falsehood and perversity?

Hebrew sources surveying the principle opinions of the great rabbis will be provided to the participants. In class we will translate and analyze these sources.
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Viduy: A Commandment of Confessions of Sins

Repentance (teshuva) is a return to God for those who have become estranged from Him by sin. Private, personal confession (vidduy) is an important element of reestablishing a connection with God. We will examine the principle sources defining the nature and characteristics of confession

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Who Can Eat Kitniyot? April 5

A large and growing segment of the Jewish population are eating kitniyot, the group of legumes which originally only Jews from Sephardic countries ate during Pesach. Join this class and learn about how the custom evolved, what it means, and who eats kitniyot today.
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Who is Exempt from the Mitzvah of Sukka?

Performing any other mitzva exempts you from the obligation to sit in a Sukka. This is the rule throughout the length and breadth of Torah: Engagement in one mitzva exempts you from fulfilling all other mitzvot. In this series we will examine this rule and learn how to apply it to everyday situations. We will study the primary sources in Hebrew and translate and explain them in class.
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Why Can’t I Eat Kitniyot? Or Can I?

Ashkenazim do not eat rice and certain other legumes (kitniyot) on Pesach. We will examine the opinions of the leading poskim regarding the definition of kitniyot, its origin, and application in our times. Is quinoa permitted on Pesach? Peanut oil? And what about canola oil? Sources are in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain the sources.
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Women Reading the Megilla, March 16

We will survey the sources and opinions of the poskim regarding women reading the megilla both in private and in public contexts.
The sources will be in Hebrew. In class we will translate and explain them.
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