2 05, 2021

Does a Chuppah Needs Poles?

May 2nd, 2021|Even HaEzer, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Marriage and Family|


Chicago, IL

Can a chuppah hang from the ceiling? Is it sufficient for it to be a canopy over the couple or must it have poles to create four invisible walls through Tzurot HaPetach or some such mechanism?


Sephardim do not use poles, and just hold a tallit over the chatan and kallah. Ashkenazim do have poles. This seems to be rooted in the debate whether a chuppah is a פריסת סעיף על הכלה or if it is a בית חתן. Even though בית will be satisfied later by the yichud room, there is a need to do the chuppah/nisuin now to make the Sheva Berakhot. Some argue that even […]

6 03, 2021

Being Mesadeir Kiddushin for Saturday Night Wedding for a Non-Shomeir Shabbat Couple

March 6th, 2021|Amirah LeGoy, Marriage and Family, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions|


Brooklyn, NY

I was asked to be Mesadeir Kiddushin on Saturday night for a non-Shomeir Shabbat couple, either at my shul building or at a hotel. The wedding would be 90 minutes (120 minutes?) after Shabbat, such that no hakhanah/melakhah is required to be done on Shabbat, but, that said, hakhanah/melakhah likely will be done by the couple. Do you think it is okay to be involved in/be Mesadeir for such a wedding? Would it be appropriate for such a wedding to be held at a shul?


I think if it is being done outside the shul, and you give them directions, which they will […]

25 02, 2021

Megillah Reading between Shekiah and Tzeit HaKokhavim

February 25th, 2021|Marriage and Family, Orach Chayim, Purim|


New York, NY

If we take our baby to an early reading that’s between Shekiah and Tzeit, do my husband and I have to also take turns going to readings that are actually at night while the baby sleeps?


The first question is whether someone is yotzei during Bein HaShemashot. See Shulchan Arukh OC 692:4 where for a case of serious ones or illness, we allow one to read even from Plag! But see Mishnah Berurah and Biur Halakha, where the Achronim are pretty machmir in a normal case, even regarding Bein HaShemashot. That being said, I think that if it started 14 minutes after Shekiah, […]

7 05, 2020

Sefirat Ha’Omer: Whose Minhag Counts?

May 7th, 2020|Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Sefirah|

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (1920-2013), born in Iraq and Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1973 to 1983, was the preeminent Sephardi posek of the previous generation. His responsa are collected in two multi-volume works: Yabia Omer (11 volumes), which contain his lengthy responsa, and Yachaveh Da’at (6 volumes), which contain his short-form responsa based on a weekly radio show of his where he answered listeners’ questions. Rav Ovadia Yosef is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the entirety of Rabbinic literature, from the Talmud through all later-day halakhic authorities.  In his responsa, he presents in a highly organized, clear and […]

5 06, 2019

Accepting the Mitzvot as a Convert: Does it Matter What You’re Really Thinking?

June 5th, 2019|Geirut and Geirim, Marriage and Family, Shavuot|

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Shmelkes (1828-1904) was one of the leading rabbis in the latter part of the 19th century in Eastern Europe. He was the head of the rabbinical court in Lvov (Lemberg) from 1869-1893. His Beit Yiẓḥak (6 vols., 1875–1908), on the four parts of the Shulkḥan Arukh, was widely acclaimed. His opinion on halakhic questions was sought by many prominent contemporary scholars. Rabbi Schmelkes made a number of particularly influential rulings in new areas of Jewish law. Regarding copyrights, he argued that an author’s exclusive right to publish their manuscript derived from the Jewish law of unfair competition and the author’s property right […]

11 03, 2019

Hair Covering (Joy of Text 4.03)

March 11th, 2019|Clothing and Appearance, Lifecycles, Marriage and Family, Niddah, Sex, Women|

These sources accompany the hair covering episode of the Joy of Text podcast.


A. Nature of Obligation

The verse in Numbers {source 1} implies that women (perhaps specifically married women) would normally have their head covered. This point is made explicit from Sifrei {source 2}, which emphasizes the fact that this was a norm, and does not frame it as an obligation. 

Rashi {source 3} emphasizes the issue was the loosening or disheveling the hair, not (or not just) its uncovering. He also states that from the context of the verse, we can infer that it was considered shameful for a woman to […]

11 03, 2019

Surrogacy (Joy of Text 3.10)

March 11th, 2019|Birth, Fertility, Marriage and Family, Sex|

On the Season 3 Finale we interview a Jewish woman who made the decision to be a surrogate and carry a child for someone else, with the support of her husband and their three young children. Carrie and Jamie Bornstein share personally and poignantly about what it means to help another couple become parents, and how their kids and their community dealt with this new reality. And for our opening segment, we respond to a listener who asked about kink: Are certain sexual practices problematic on Shabbat or Yom Tov? What if they involve rope or other implements? What other […]

11 03, 2019

Source Packet on All Forms of Birth Control (JoT 3.3)

March 11th, 2019|Birth Control, Even HaEzer, Marriage and Family, Sex|

In this episode (JoT 3.3), we break down the pros and cons of the Pill, IUDs, condone, and other common birth control methods and the halachic considerations that render some forms of contraception more acceptable than others. An extensive source pack on on all relevant sources with translations follows below.

Source Packet on All Forms of Birth Control


Table of Contents 

11 03, 2019

Marital Sex – Can We Really Do THAT? – part 1 (Joy of Text 3.1)

March 11th, 2019|Marriage and Family, Sex|

Which sexual acts are permitted in a marriage? The answers might surprise you! Find out why co-host Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus calls this one of “the most important episodes” of the podcast. Plus we interview the creator of the hit YouTube series SOON BY YOU, Leah Gottfried, about the challenges of dating as an Orthodox Jew, and we introduce a new take on the Final Word.

These sources are Part 1 to accompany the first episode of the third season of the Joy of Text.
To view the sources for Part 2- From Wife to Husband, click […]

11 03, 2019

Thinking About Mikveh Before Marriage (Joy of Text 2.1)

March 11th, 2019|Marriage and Family, Niddah, Sex|

Recorded Live at Harvard Hillel! Should an unmarried woman who is in an intimate relationship use the mikveh before marriage? What are the relevant and often competing halakhic, personal, and communal  issues that must be considered? Includes Q&A with Harvard students on this theme and related topics, and heartfelt reflections by our hosts on why this podcast is the most important project they’ve undertaken.

These sources accompany the eleventh episode of the second season of the Joy of Text podcast.

You may also want to check out our source sheet on degrees of sexual touch here.


Unmarried Women Not Going […]

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