Tag Archives: Halakhah

Ep. 138 Kosher Kitchen Crash Course 1 – Theory and Definitions

Rabbi Yuter begins his Kosher Kitchen Crash Course with an overview of the theory of how kashrut works, focusing on examples most relevant for maintaining a kosher kitchen.

Kosher Kitchen Crash Course 1 – Theory and Definitions Sources (PDF)

Kosher Kitchen Crash Course 1 – Theory and Definitions

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Ep. 117 Halakhic Process 24 – Conservative Judaism

Rabbi Josh Yuter’s Halakhic Process series turns towards the Conservative Judaism’s legal hermeneutic, and how it compares to what is often employed by their Orthodox counterparts.

Halakhic Process 24 – Conservative Judaism Sources (PDF)

Halakhic Process 24 – Conservative Judaism

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Ep. 114 Current Jewish Questions 31 – Introduction to Eiruvin 1

Rabbi Josh Yuter’s Current Jewish Questions series returns with the first of a three part introduction to the laws of eruv.

Current Jewish Questions 31 – Intro to Eiruvin 1 Sources (PDF)

Current Jewish Questions 31 – Introduction to Eiruvin 1

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Ep. 113 Halakhic Process 22 – Consensus

After a long summer and High Holiday hiatus, Rabbi Yuter’s Halakhic Process series returns, shifting focus towards a “critical terms” format, beginning with the nebulous appeal to halakhic consensus.

Halakhic Process 22 – Consensus Sources (PDF)

Halakhic Process 22 – Consensus

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From the YUTOPIA Archives: An Odd Instance of Intellectual Assimilation – Christian Influences on Nachmanides’ Thought

YUTOPIA's 10 Year Anniversary SpecialOne of the main characters of the movie Footnote is a scholar whose most eminent academic accomplishment was a single complimentary footnote in his teacher’s work. Such recognition indicates that not only has a master in a field read your work, but found your contribution significant enough to disseminate to his larger audience. Aside from earning one’s PhD, this can be the academic equivalent of “getting made.”

The closest I’ve experienced this feeling myself was when I shared a graduate school paper on Ramban / Nachmanides (1194–c. 1270) with my father’s teacher Haham Jose / Yosef Faur in his Netanya house in 2002. In particular, I remember his elated reaction at my discovery that Ramban’s commentary on Deuteronomy 17:11 is nearly identical to the Early Church Father Tertullian’s (c. 160–c. 225 AD) justification of priestly authority. Haham Faur referenced this discovery in his article Anti-Maimonidean Demons p. 28 note 110 in his Horizontal Society (vol 2. p. 188).

I rediscovered the original paper among the same pile of documents as my father’s letter of resignation. I believe I kept the original copy of this paper due to the comments I received from Professor David Berger, which made an indelible impression on me:

This is a very intelligent, well written, vigorously argued but unconvincing, tendentious, one-sided, arbitrary, even biased argument. The suggestion that N.[achmanides] invented a tradition so that he could exercise authority i.e. that he did not believe that there was a Kabbalistic tradition that he had studied is unsupport[ed] and even offensive. I will assign a good grade to this paper because of its stimulating qualities, but what they stimulated in me was a combination of fascination and anger.

Despite Dr. Berger’s personal objections, he gave this paper an A-. There is also much more to be said in comparing Dr. Berger’s affinity towards Ramban and his criticisms of Chabad, but that is for another time. 1

Unsurprisingly, the paper itself could stand to use some editing and a few more revisions. Aside from the typos which should be expected at this point, I can see in hindsight imprecise language if not poor word choices. I suppose one reason to pursue advanced education is precisely to improve such skills. At any rate, for those interested in the subject or Hassidim of Haham Faur who are compelled to collect all related data, I am embedding the paper itself, complete with original typos, mistakes, and comments.

And in case anyone is wondering, despite this being a Revel paper, I did in fact submit the paper on time.
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  1. Haham Faur was a fan of Dr. Berger’s book on Chabad, though in discussing my paper he said, “if he is a fan of Ramban, then his book makes no sense.”
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Ep. 94 Current Jewish Questions 19 – Gun Control

With the Sandy Hook tragedy reigniting the national debate on gun control, Rabbi Yuter discusses certain rabbinic sources relevant towards formulating a Jewish perspective.

Current Jewish Questions – Gun Control Sources (PDF)

Current Jewish Questions – Gun Control Sources

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Ep. 90 Halakhic Process – Popular Practice and the Process of Psak / The Role of Custom in Jewish Law

Rabbi Yuter’s series on the Halakhic Process turns to the role of minhag/custom in the halakhic system with a special presentation of his classic post Popular Practice and the Process of Psak – The Role of Custom in Jewish Law

Popular Practice and the Process of Psak / The Role of Custom in Jewish Law Sources (PDF)

Popular Practice and the Process of Psak / The Role of Custom in Jewish Law

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Current Jewish Questions 15 – Substance Abuse

With a trend towards legalizing marijuana it is possible that currently illicit drugs may be more widespread in the future. In this class Rabbi Yuter examines Jewish perspectives, attitudes, and primary sources regarding substance abuse.

Current Jewish Questions – Substance Abuse Sources (PDF)

Current Jewish Questions – Substance Abuse

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Ep. 80 Current Jewish Questions 13 – Intellectual Property / Piracy

Rabbi Yuter explores and evaluates arguments for the role of intellectual property and piracy in Jewish Law.

Current Jewish Questions – Intellectual Property and Piracy Sources (PDF)

Current Jewish Questions – Intellectual Property and Piracy Sources

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Ep. 78 Current Jewish Questions 11 – Art in Jewish Law

Rabbi Josh Yuter’s Current Jewish Questions returns with a discussion how various forms of art are impacted by Jewish law.

Current Jewish Questions – Art in Jewish Law

Current Jewish Questions – Art in Jewish Law Sources (PDF)

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