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Torah SheBa'al Peh

Torah SheBa’al Peh


Instructor: Ms. Elisheva Cohen

Credits: 3 credit hours – Bet Midrash Class

In this course students will be introduced to the fascinating, intellectually challenging world of Gemara through in-depth study of sugyot. In this class students will develop textual and analytical skills to explore the conceptual categories and legal reasoning of the Gemara, and will analyze the values and beliefs that underlie its halakhic discussions. The course aims to help students develop the skills to question and engage with the text of the Gemara independently. 

In-depth attention will be paid to the specifics of the law as well as the overarching meta-legal concepts and theological and philosophical messages the Sages convey in their discussions.

Required text: Masechet Makkot

In Depth Halacha- Hilchot Shabbat and Kashrut

Instructor: Rabbanit Shira Zimmerman

Credits: 3 credit hours – Bet Midrash class

Shabbat and Kashrut are foundational mitzvot of our religion.  Shabbat is the creation of holiness in time and kashrut gives insight into the holiness of the body and what we are and aren’t allowed to put into it.  Many of you have learned Hilchot Shabbat and Kashrut at some point in your lives.  This class will build off that knowledge and delve further into those aspects of these mitzvot that you have never learned before to gain a deeper and more expansive understanding of these mitzvot. 

In addition, as this is a beit midrash class we will devote time to the way we learn and build skills so that by the end of the year girls in this class will have the tools to open the books on their own, to ask the right questions and even be able to find some of the answers.

Philosophy of Halacha

Instructor: Rav Gideon Sylvester

Credit: 2 credit hours

We grow up with lots of rules. But why should we keep them? Do they really represent the word of G-d? How about when Rabbis disagree? Are they all speaking for G-d? How do we know who to follow? In this course, we will be sure to learn some Halacha, but most of our time will be dedicated to wrestling with some of the more difficult philosophical questions that lie behind it. It’s a course suited to those who like to think, argue, debate and discuss.

Women and Jewish Law

Instructors:  Dr. Yocheved Debow

Credits: 2 credit hours

What are the mitzvot that are especially for women? Why do some women wear kerchiefs practically to their eyebrows, while others show much of their hair? Why do some teach women Gemara, while others hesitate over Rashi? How do prenuptial agreements deal with the problem of agunah? How does halakhah view women's obligation in mitzvot differently than men’s, and why? Are there mitzvot women are not permitted to perform? What does Judaism have to say about relationships between the sexes? Does Judaism believe in platonic friendships? Is “being shomer” a Halakhah? What about relatives? And friends? What is “Yichud” and when do we have to worry about it? Is there more to tzniut than elbows and knees? How does learning Halacha help us strengthen our relationship with Ha-Kadosh Barukh Hu? Through guided, in-depth learning of the sources, we will explore the development of Halacha through the Rishonim and Achronim, to modern-day Poskim. We will develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of areas of Halacha pertaining to women and the ways in which the practice of these Halachot impact on us. 

Required text: None. Source sheets will be provided.

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