הלכות שבת (Mandatory for all students)
An in-depth analysis of the laws of Shabbat, tracing the halacha from the Torah and the Talmud through the Shulchan Aruch and modern responsa. The course will discuss both the positive commandments (e.g. kiddush, havdalah, hadlakat nerot, etc.) as well as the prohibitions of various relevant melachot (cooking, carrying, use of electricity, etc.) The goal is to penetrate the logical definition of each melacha and to apply this to practical halacha.
An in depth study of many of the issues involved in ברכת הנהנין, with an emphasis on הלכה למעשה. Source material includes Gemara, Rishonim, Shulchan Aruch, and Poskim. Some of the questions that we will discuss include: When is a new bracha required for eating additional food? Which food combinations require only one bracha, followed by which bracha? What are the halachic definitions of bread and cake? What is the proper bracha for: stuffed cabbage, ice cream with a cone, chocolate bar with almonds, cholent, pizza, apple pie, "mezonot" roll, matzah brei, challah kugel, Sugar Crisp, Rice Krispies, etc.?
A study of the various laws of kashrut one is likely to confront in daily life. The course will discuss kosher and non-kosher ingredients, the prohibitions of mixtures of meat and milk, glatt kosher, cholov yisrael, pat yisrael, stam yeinam, etc. We will discuss spills and splashes, ovens and microwaves, sinks and dishwashers, and other kitchen dilemmas. We will also address the laws of pat akum, bishul akum, as well as gelatin, chametz (before Pesach), tevilat kelim and hechsher kelim.
An in-depth study of the many mitzvot that pertain to women. We will discuss halachot including Talmud Torah, tefilla, specific laws of Shabbat and chagim as well as the time-bound mitzvot (מצוות עשה שהזמן גרמא). We will trace these issues beginning with the Torah and the Talmud and continuing through the piskei halacha of today's authorities.
אבן העזר, one of the four sections of Shulchan Aruch, deals exclusively with issues relating to women. Through a detailed analysis of specific topics and issues in Halacha, we will develop a panoramic approach towards the role of the Jewish woman in the family. Topics will include: yichud, family planning, ketuba, the wedding ceremony, pre-nuptial agreements, and the problem of aguna.
עיני יורה דעה
A study of the various laws that can be found in the Yoreh Deah section of Shulchan Aruch. These laws include the various areas of kashrut one is likely to confront in daily life. The course will discuss bishul akum, cholov yisrael, pat yisrael, trumot umaasrot, chadash, tevilat keilim, shmitta, gelatin,etc. Other topics will include: tzedakah, כיבוד אב ואם, mezuzah, and more.
פרקי אורח חיים
This course will constitute an in-depth analysis of the primary areas of practical halacha found in the Mishna Brurah excluding the laws of Shabbat. The course is designed for the students to gain an appreciation of the primary sources in order to understand from where the halacha (as expounded in the Mishna Brurah) derives. In addition to surveying the laws of netillat yadayim, birchot hashachar, tefillah and kriat hatorah, the course will also address the conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of selected mitzvot, such as birchot hatorah, keriat shma and shemona esrei. We will also give special attention to aspects of these mitzvot that are unique to women. The second semester will primarily focus on the laws of the chagim.
בעיות הלכתיות בחברה הישראלית
This course will focus on several of the controversial halachic issues that face Israeli society today. We will analyze the various primary sources that relate to the questions at hand and come to an understanding of many sides of the issues. Topics will include: religious coercion, negotiating with terrorists, Ethiopian Jewry, land for peace, etc.
An organized guided learning schedule of much of the halacha l'maaseh portions of Shulchan Aruch together with the Mishnah Brurah (excluding those areas covered in other shiurim, e.g. Hilchot Shabbat). The learning will be בחברותא (generally during night seder), according to a reasonable time table. Periodically, there will be a shiur clarifying some of the issues, through summary and analysis.
This course will explore the basic principles behind the laws of Taharat HaMishpacha. Our in-depth study of the halacha will be enhanced by a thorough investigation of the hashkafic implications for relationships and family life in general. It is our hope that this course will provide the students with a healthy approach towards this complex and unfamiliar, yet crucial area of halacha.This course will explore the basic principles behind the laws of Taharat HaMishpacha. Our in-depth study of the halacha will be enhanced by a thorough investigation of the hashkafic implications for relationships and family life in general. It is our hope that this course will provide the students with a healthy approach towards this complex and unfamiliar, yet crucial area of halacha.
הגדה של פסח
At first glance, the haggada seems somewhat disjointed or even disorganized. It appears to be a rambling, even random collection of tidbits all loosely arranged around the common theme of sippur yetziat mitzrayim. Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth. The reality is that the haggada is both organized and systematic presenting to us all of the elements necessary for fulfillment of the halachic requirements of sippur yetziat mitzrayim in a quite effective manner. Unfortunately, many people do not understand this, and therefore wind up reading through the haggada very quickly, perhaps stopping to dicsuss only a few well known passages such as the arbah banim and the eser makot. The purpose of this class is to clarify the structure of the haggada and to understand the particular function of each of its component parts. Through an analysis of primary sources, we will uncover the mystery of the haggada shel Pesach.
ועשית הישר והטוב
The Halacha has a great deal to say, not only about areas of Bein Adam LaMakom (Shabbat, Kashrut, Tefilla, etc), but also about Bein Adam L'Chaveiro. We will explore these areas of interpersonal relationships and Tikkun HaMidot through the eyes of the Halacha, including such areas as: הוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות, לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך, אונאת דברים, תוחכה, חנופה, וכו'.
הלכות מלכים ומלחמותיהם
Rambam’s Laws of Kings (and their Wars) is a fascinating and fundamental discussion of the Torah’s instructions for running a government, army and society. Intricate Talmudic logic (“lomdus”), modern political theory, morality and matters of contemporary importance all come together in this captivating text. Topics include the mitzvah (or lack thereof) of appointing a king, a discussion of different Torah views on democracy, powers of government, taxation, laws, policies and ethics of warfare (unfortunately very relevant right now), the idea of Eshet Yefat Toar, slavery, the mitzvah (or lack thereof) to live in Eretz Yisrael, application of Torah laws to Bnei Noach (non-Jews), and the concept of the Melech HaMashiach. While the Rambam’s Hilchot Melachim will be the primary text of our study, we will also have occasion to see the views of other authorities as well.