Skip to content

What is Halakhah?

Suggested Donation: £54.00

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons, 26 June – 6 July, 1.30 – 3pm

Is Halakhah (Jewish law) a technical discussion? Or is it simply nuanced guidance about life? In this course with R’ Elisha Ancselovits, we read examples from different layers of Jewish law so as to hear past nuances better and to think with more nuance. Alef-bet required, no other skills needed.

Out of stock


Jewish tradition, and Halakhah in specific, is currently viewed as either an abtruse technical discourse or as a collection of concepts from which one selectively chooses to argue one’s ideological conclusions. But for most of its history, whenever Judaism has simply been the Jews’ way of being human, Halakhah has simply been nuanced guidance about life. And in this class, we learn how to regain that. Instead of becoming confused by or manipulating concepts and textual words, we learn how to hear the practical insights that the varied authors across time and cultures sought to communicate. In each session, we read examples from another generation/layer of Jewish law so that we may become familiar with the literature as we increasingly learn to hear past nuances better and to think with more nuance. This leads us to the closing question of what current Halakhic applications might look like in our varied Jewish subcultures. Alef-bet required, no other skills needed.

This class will take place in-person in central Edinburgh.

26, 27, 28, 29 June, 1.30 – 3.00pm

3, 4, 5, 6 July, 1.30 – 3.00pm

Rabbi Elisha Ancselovits holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and has both rabbinic and judicial ordination. He teaches Halakha as Practical Wisdom in the kollel of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and in the kollel of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, in the rabbinic and judicial ordination tracks of his Bet Midrash Hukkim Hakhamim, and in additional Orthodox and secular Israeli institutions. He is currently a fellow at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion. In the past, he has been a postdoctoral or visiting researcher and a visiting professor in Halakha, in Mishpat Ivri, in Jewish Thought, in Jewish Education, and in Legal Realism. He is currently completing the first of a three-volume history of Judaism through the lens of Jewish Law, entitled A Peoplehood of Wisdom: The History of Jews, Study, and Law.