The Philosophy of Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l Part 1: Not in Heaven — The Nature and Function of Halakha

Posted by Rahel Berkovits on March 7, 2016
Topics: Pardes Live, The Thoughts of Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l


Torat Hayim A Living Torah: The Thoughts of Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l.

In this 6-part lecture series, Rabbi Rahel Berkovits looks at the thoughts of her grandfather, Rabbi Professor Eliezer Berkovits z”l. What is the interplay between Torah and real life situations? How do ancient texts apply to modern times? The philosophy of R. Berkovits will be examined through the lens of his writings on women and Jewish law, conversion and the unity of the Jewish people, the problem of Agunot, a sexual ethic in modern time, and the challenges of Prayer.

In this episode: Not in Heaven: The Nature and Function of Halakha. This lecture will explore Berkovits’ general understanding of how the halakhic system works and the Divine partnership between God and Human beings in revealing Torah. How should historical time and place affect change within Jewish law? What is the role of the posek and what is the negative outcome in writing down the oral law?

“Orthodoxy is, in a sense, halakhah in a straitjacket. Having had to transform the Oral Torah into a new written one, we have become Karaites of this new Torah Shebikhetav…” (Crisis and Faith p.95)

Click here for more episodes in this series.


About Rahel Berkovits

Rahel teaches Mishnah, Talmud and Halakha at Pardes. She has spent many years studying Talmud and Jewish texts in both traditional and academic frameworks at Midreshet Lindenbaum, The Shalom Hartman Institute, and Hebrew University in both the Talmud and Jewish education departments. In 2015, Rahel completed her studies at Beit Midrash Har’el and received ordination from Rabbi Herzl Hefter and Rabbi Daniel Sperber. Click here to read more.

Keep Learning