Category Archives: Jewish Law / Halakha

Posts related to Jewish Law

“Gadolatry” In Orthodox Jewish Discourse

I first heard the term “gadolatry” attributed to the late professor Arthur Hertzberg. A portmanteau of “gadol” and “idolatry,” the word “gadolatry” refers to a perceived phenomenon in Orthodox Judaism where select rabbinic leaders are treated with a degree of deference or reverence, bordering on worshipping the person of the rabbi himself. That Dr. Hertzberg would coin such an inflammatory term is not surprising given his personality, such that any reactions of offense or outrage are as intentional as they are predictable. However, it has been my experience that those strong passions on either side have turned the reasonable question of the role of the gadol in Judaism into the single greatest impediment to intelligent religious discourse in the Orthodox Jewish community.

While I have no expectations of resolving this divisive issue, I do hope to explicate the rationales implied when one invokes a gadol, and why others may find such an argument unconvincing.
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Posted in Jewish Culture, Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Random Acts of Scholarship. Tagged with , , , .

Episode 35 – Politics of Exclusion: Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox Part 1

Rabbi Josh Yuter starts a new section in his Politics of Exclusion series discussing the Orthodox reaction to Saul Lieberman after accepting his position at JTS.

Politics of Exclusion – Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox Part 1 Sources (PDF)

Politics of Exclusion – Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox Part 1

All texts are from Saul Lieberman and the Orthodox by Marc Shapiro and is a highly purchase and read in its entirety.

Posted in Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Podcasts, Politics of Exclusion in Judaism, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Kosher Cheese

By community request, my class topic for this past Shavuot was on the issues related to kosher cheese. For obvious reasons there is no audio, but for those interested in the topic I’m attaching the source sheet. If anyone is interested in the details I would be happy to discuss offline, or you’re more than welcome to book a speaking engagement :-)

Kosher Cheese Sources (PDF)

Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud translations are Soncino’s, the Yerushalmi translation is from Jacob Neusner.

Posted in Jewish Law / Halakha, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , .

Episode 33 – Politics of Exclusion: R. Moshe Feinstein on Conservative Conversions

Rabbi Yuter’s Politics of Exclusion series continues with a discussion of R. Moshe Feinstein’s opinions related to the conversions of Conservative Jews.

R. Moshe Feinstein vs. Conservative Conversions Sources (PDF)

Politics of Exclusion – R. Moshe on Conservative Conversions

Posted in Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Podcasts, Politics of Exclusion in Judaism, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , .

Who’s Who in the Talmud: R. Yochanan Part 1

Rabbi Yuter’s Who’s Who in the Talmud series shifts to the Amoraic period, beginning with the great Eretz Yisrael Amora R. Yochanan.

Who’s Who in the Talmud – R. Yochanan Part 1 Sources (PDF)

Who’s Who in the Talmud – R. Yochanan Part 1

Posted in Jewish History, Jewish Law / Halakha, Podcasts, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah, Who's Who in the Talmud. Tagged with , , .

Episode 31 – Politics of Exclusion: R. Moshe Feinstein vs. Conservative and Reform Weddings

Rabbi Josh Yuter’s Politics of Exclusion class continues with a discussion of R. Moshe Feinstein’s opinions regarding the halakhic status of weddings and marriages of Reform and Conservative Rabbis.

R. Moshe Feinstein vs Conservative and Reform Weddings Sources (PDF)

Politics of Exclusion – R. Moshe Feinstein vs Conservative and Reform Weddings

Posted in Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Podcasts, Politics of Exclusion in Judaism, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Episode 28 – Politics of Exclusion: R. Moshe Feinstein vs. Conservative and Reform Part 1

Rabbi Yuter’s Politics of Exclusion Class continues with an examination of R. Moshe Feinstein’s responsa / teshuvot regarding Conservative and Reform Judaism.

Politics of Exclusion – R. Moshe Feinstein vs. Conservative and Reform Part 1 Sources (PDF)

Politics of Exclusion – R. Moshe Feinstein vs. Conservative and Reform Part 1

Posted in Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Lectures, Podcasts, Politics of Exclusion in Judaism, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , .

Eretz Yisrael / The Land of Israel In Rabbinic Thought

In a special class in honor of Yom Haatzmaut, Rabbi Yuter explores Rabbinic perspectives regarding the land of Israel, including those from Babylonian sources.

Eretz Yisrael in Rabbinic Thought Sources (PDF)

Eretz Yisrael in Rabbinic Thought

Posted in Jewish History, Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Lectures, Podcasts, Politics, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law Class Series

In the Spring Semester of 2011 I had the honor of addressing the NYU Jewish Law Students Association for a weekly series covering Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law. Below are the links to the specific lectures in the order given with audio and PDF source sheets available. As always, comments are welcome. If there is interest in me delivering any of these lectures or the entire series in person, please contact me directly.

  1. Free Market Ethics in Torah
  2. Halakhic Market Controls
  3. Halakhic Labor Laws
  4. Social Welfare Programs
  5. Taxes and Tzedakah (Charity)
  6. The Laws and Ethics of Universal Health Care in Torah
  7. Tikkun Olam
Posted in Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law, Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Lectures, Podcasts, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law Part 7: Tikkun Olam

The rabbinic idiom “Tikun Olam” literally means “repairing/fixing the world” and has been invoked to promote advocacy for numerous causes and policies. But what did “Tikun Olam” mean to those who coined the phrase? In the final installment of his Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law series, Rabbi Yuter explores the specific instances of Tikkun Olam to extrapolate and infer the ideal social system as understood by the Rabbinic Sages.

Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law – Tikkun Olam Sources (PDF)

Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law – Tikkun Olam

Posted in Economics and Social Justice in Jewish Law, Jewish Law / Halakha, Jewish Thought, Theology, and Machshava, Lectures, Podcasts, Sermons, Lectures, and Divrei Torah. Tagged with , , , , , , , .