The NYC Siyum HaShas features a series of parallel classes, shiurim, and lectures on topics relating to the daf yomi, to sugyot in the Gemara, and to broader thematic issues from both traditional and academic perspectives.
Click on a topic in the schedule to jump to the corresponding course descriptions and speaker biographies.
Register now for the NYC Siyum HaShas at http://www.regonline.com/siyumhashas.
7:00 PM - 7:40 PM Classes - Session 1
The Nature of the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah (Berakhot 11b) | Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot
This shiur will examine the nature of the mitzvah of talmud Torah, especially focusing on the issue of its relationship and priority in relationship to other mitzvot. Some of this discussion emerges from a analysis of the language of birkot hatorah (Berakhot 11b) as well as other sugyot in the corpus of the Talmud.
Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot is Chair of the Departments of Bible and Jewish Thought, as well as a maggid shiur in the Talmud and Halakha Departments at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School in New York City . He is the spiritual leader of Congregation Netivot Shalom in Teaneck , NJ . He also serves on the Judaic studies faculty at the SAR High School. R. Helfgot received his rabbinical ordination from RIETS and holds a Master's in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Education.
Lomdus and Legal Theory: What Can One Learn from the Other? | Professor Chaim Saiman
Part one of this shiur shows how an awareness of core concepts of legal theory significantly enhances our understanding of the lomdus developed in classical sources. Part two then demonstrates how lomdus offers a distinct perspective on several issues debated by legal theorists.
Chaim Saiman, a Professor of Law Villanova University, works in the areas of comparative private law and Jewish law. Chaim currently serves as the Jewish Law Editor for the Journal of Law and Religion, and in the upcoming year will be the Gruss Visiting Professor of Jewish Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life at Princeton University. At present, Chaim is working on a book titled Halakha: the Rabbinic Idea of Law, under contract with Princeton University Press. Prior to teaching at Villanova, Chaim learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion, Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, clerked on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and studied at the law schools of Columbia, Harvard and NYU.
Mistakes, Disagreements and Authority - The Nature of the Bavli as an Authoritative Text | Rabbi Yitzhak Ben David
We will look at the issues of authority and disobedience in Tractate Horayoth—a tractate which focuses on erroneous court rulings and consider this topic in light of how contemporary legal scholars discuss the concept of judicial review. This will inform our understanding of the nature of the Bavli as an authoritative text.
Yitzhak Ben David is the incoming Rosh haYeshiva of Midreshet Ein Hanatziv and most recently was a Tikvah scholar at NYU in New York. A graduate of Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rabbi Ben David was ordained as a Rabbi by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. He has taught Talmud and Jewish Thought at Midreshet Ein Hanatziv and at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, and has served as head of the Beit Midrash for Midreshet Ein Hanatziv alumnae. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Talmud from Hebrew University and is a doctoral student at Bar Ilan University Law School. His research focuses on the analysis of exegetical processes and changes during the Rabbinic period, while analyzing the relationship between these processes and the social and historical development within the life circumstances of Jewish society during this period.
Methodological Differences: When Bavli and Yerushalmi Disagree | Ms. Elana Stein Hain
What are we to make of disagreements between the Talmud Bavli and the Talmud Yerushalmi? In this session, we will study some of the major methodological differences between these two fundamental texts of Torah she'be'al peh (Oral Law) and how they give rise to what may otherwise look like simple local disputes.
Elana Stein Hain has served as the Community Scholar at Lincoln Square Synagogue for the past four years and lives with her husband Rabbi Yonah Hain and son Azzan on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on Talmudic Loopholes and Role of Intention in Jewish Law at Columbia University.
From Curse to Blessing: A Reading of Mesekhet Niddah and Hilkhot Niddah through the Lens of Rav Kook | Dr. Pnina Neuwirth
In this class we will look at Mesekhet Niddah and the halakhot of Niddah through the lens of Rav Kook. We will see how Rav Kook understands that the original laws of Niddah were a form of a curse, but how they became transformed to a blessing.
Pnina Neuwirth is a lawyer, specializing in Tax and Commercial law in Israel. She holds a Bachelor Degree and a Masters Degree in Tax Law from the Hebrew University and has received her PhD in the field of International Taxation of E-commerce from Haifa University. She teaches in the following seminaries: the overseas program "Orot Israel" in Elkanna, Matan HaSharon Raanana and Midreshet Aviv seminary for girls in Tel Aviv. Between the years 2004-2006 Pnina was a visiting professor at Stern College for Women and taught Jewish Studies in the fields of Torat Eretz Yisrael and Jewish Philosophy. She was the writer of the column "Women in the Bible" for the "Makor Rishon" newspaper in Israel.
7:50 PM - 8:30 PM Classes - Session 2
Moses Requested to Know Three Things from the Holy One (Berakhot 7a) - Theodicy in Tractate Berakhot | Rabbi Joshua Schreier
Rabbi Meir disagrees with earlier attempts to rationalize the existence of evil in the world. We will analyze† the different approaches in the context of talmudic and medieval attempts to deal with this issue.
Rabbi Joshua Schreier received his BA and MS† from Yeshiva University and rabbinical ordination from RIETS. After teaching in Ramaz, Yeshivat Ohel Shlomo in Beersheba and for twenty-two years in Midreshet Lindenbaum, he is now the Managing Editor of the Steinsaltz Koren Talmud Bavli.
Tzarikh Iyyun: Approaches to Iyyun Gemara in the Sephardi and Askenazi Communities throughout the Ages | Rabbi Haim Ovadia
The class will focus on the differences and the cross fertilization between Sefarad, Ashkenaz and North Africa and why the distinction is not necessarily geographic but methodological. It will also highlight the importance of halakha on Sephardic Iyyun and the fact that there are no Sephardic yeshivot today.
The rabbi of the Mikdash Eliyahu synagogue in Brooklyn, Rabbi Haim Ovadia was born in Israel and received his ordination from the then Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordekhai Eliyahu. Rabbi Ovadia holds an MA in Hebrew Literature from UCLA. In addition to his congregational work in the United States and Israel, he spent five years serving as the Assistant Rabbi and Cantor at Communidad Hebrea Sefaradi of Bogota,Colombia. Rabbi Ovadia has taught at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism). Rabbi Ovadia is engaged in promoting the traditional-modern Sephardic approach of balancing Halakha and life, integrating culture and torah and reviving an inclusive, non-judgmental approach towards all Jews and humankind.
The Relationship of Bavli to Yerushalmi in Psak Halakha | Rabbi Michael Broyde
This shiur will focus on a basic question of pshat in learning daf yomi: should we seek to explain the Bavli consistent with the Yerushalmi, the reverse or each one independently. We will focus on a small number of halacha lemase example to flesh out this dispute among rishonim.
Michael Broyde is a law professor at Emory University, was the founding rabbi of the Young Israel in Atlanta, and is a member (dayan) of the Beth Din of America.
The Unvanquished: R. Chaninah ben Teradion and the Crafting of Bavli Legend | Ms. Wendy Amsellem
The story of the martyrdom of R. Chaninah ben Teradion appears in its earliest form in the Sifrei. We will trace its evolution into a lengthy Bavli aggada and discuss the Bavli's strategies in constructing narratives.
Wendy Amsellem is a faculty member at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education where she also directs the July Collegiate Program. She is pursuing a Phd in Rabbinic Literature from NYU and is an alumna of the Drisha Scholar's Circle and of Harvard University.
Talmud in Translation | Rabbi Adam Mintz
The translation of the Talmud into English in the twentieth century has facilitated increased learning and exposure to the Talmud. What is the history of the translation of the Talmud? When was it first translated? Was there opposition to these translations? This lecture will explore these issues based on primary and secondary sources.
Rabbi Adam Mintz is the Founding Rabbi of Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a Modern Orthodox community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He is an Assistant Professor in Jewish History at City College, New York and a Tikvah Fellow at New York University Law School, 2012-2013.
8:40 PM - 9:20 PM Classes - Session 3
Pangs of Love: Talmudic Perspectives on Suffering (Berakhot 5a-b) | Jordanna Cope-Yossef
We will compare the sugyot of pangs of love in Berakhot 5a-b and Shir HaShirim Rabba. We will address the question of why, despite the praiseworthiness of "accepting suffering" several Amoraim turn down "suffering out of love" in favor of healing and discuss what relevant theological implications we can draw from the sugya. The shiur is dedicated in memory of Kobi Mandell and Yossef Ishran.
Jordanna Cope-Yossef holds a law degree from Hebrew University and is a Nishmat certified yoetzet halakha. She was the Director of the Advanced Talmudic Institute at Matan-The Women's Institute for Torah studies in Jerusalem from 1999-2012. Jordanna is a senior lecturer in Talmud and Jewish Law at Matan, and an instructor in Medical Ethics at the Tal Nursing School. At Matan, Jordanna founded the first women's daf yomi shiur for women by women. She heads the Mifnim Center for Legal and Halakhic solutions that promotes prenuptials as a preemptive solution to Get refusal. Mother of six and grandmother of two, originally from Chicago, Jordanna has lived for 26 years with her family in the pluralistic community of Tekoa, Israel.
The Lomdus of the First Sugya in Kiddushin and Why Academic Talmud Matters | Rabbi Dov Linzer
We will look at the first sugya of Mesekhet Kiddushin with an attempt to understand the nature of kiddushin and the sense of the phrase "a woman is acquired". We will ask to what degree this acquisition is literal - a type of property acquisition - and to what degree it refers to a personal status change. We will first approach this through the lens of traditional lomdus, and then through the lens of academic Talmud, and we will see how these two approaches do not have to be at odds, but can actually be mutually reinforcing.
Rabbi Dov Linzer is the Rosh HaYeshiva and Dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, a groundbreaking Orthodox smicha program. Rabbi Linzer spearheaded the development of YCT to create an innovative four year smicha program which provides its students with rigorous talmud Torah and halakhic study and sophisticated professional training in the context of a religious atmosphere which cultivates openness and inclusiveness. Rabbi Linzer teaches a daf-yomi shiur daily, which is available live on the web, and in recorded video and audio (podcast) form, and lectures widely on topics of modernity and Orthodoxy. He is most recently the awardee of the prestigious Avi Chai Fellowship.
Plain Speaking: Peshat versus Talmudic Interpretations of Biblical Verses | Rabbi Dr. Martin Lockshin
What should religious students of the Bible do when they find that the Talmud interprets biblical verses in away that differ greatly from what the verses appear to say? We will examine the differing approaches of a number of the great Bible commentators who were also scholars of Talmud.
Martin Lockshin is Professor of Humanities and Hebrew and Chair of the Department of Humanities at York University in Toronto. He received his semikhah in Israel and his PhD at Brandeis University. His area of academic expertise is the history of Jewish Bible commentaries. He is the author of six books (four in English and two in Hebrew) all dealing with the Bible commentaries of Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam).
The Controversial Kal va-Homer: Hillel’s Introduction of Midrashic Interpretation to Bnei Betera | Rabbi Dr. Richard Hidary
The early Sages turned to midrashic hermeneutics in order to ground Pharisaic law in Scripture; these exegetical methods, however, quickly became a double edged sword when the Sadducees used them to attack Pharisaic views. This lecture will discuss the historical context for the codification of midrashic methods of exegesis and will then analyze the rabbisí apprehension about their application.
Richard Hidary is an assistant professor of Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University, having previously taught at New York University and Brooklyn College. He has published one book, Dispute for the Sake of Heaven: Legal Pluralism in the Talmud (Brown University Press, 2010), as well as articles appearing in AJS Review, Dine Israel, Encyclopedia Judaica, and Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. He is also a rabbinics reviewer for The Lost Bible Project: The Library of Israel in Late Antiquity, to be published by JPS, and a contributor to the forthcoming New Oxford Annotated Translation of the Mishnah. An ordained rabbi, Richard is the founding director of Merkaz Moreshet Yisrael, which produces teachers guides for high school Jewish studies. Richard's next book project will analyze Talmudic dialectic and argumentation.