Third and fourth year students concluded their learning of gerut this week, and, as a final, were given different real-life cases to analyze, ranging from cases of adult conversion, to adopting children, to cases of doubtful Jewish status. Over the next two weeks, students will write up responsa for these cases and present them to their peers and myself. This will be an excellent way to concretize the learning that they have been doing, by bringing theory to (virtual) practice.
Having concluded the segment on Conversion, we began this week the segment on Sidur Kiddushin. The first shiur focused on the two stages of marriage - kiddushin and nissuim - and the bracha that is made for the first - birkat eirusin. We dealt with such practical questions as who can say the brakha, whether it belongs before or after the kiddushin, and whether the bride and groom need to have intent to fulfill their obligation through the brakha that the mesader is saying. We also used this an opportunity to frame some of the larger questions - why halakhic kiddushin occurs in two stages, the difference between the acts of kiddushin and nissuim - one being a more formal act the other more of a lived reality - and, finally, how kiddushin defines and sanctifies the relationship.
As yeshiva breaks for Purim and we would not be resuming on Shushan Purim, we had our Purim chagiga a little early - on Tuesday, before Taanit Esther. It was a wonderful event, with students, rebbeim, and staff participating, and of course the highlight was the Purim shpiel - or actually, shpiels, as we had many different shpiels from different groups of students. It was a great opportunity to share and laugh together, and much fun was had by all.
We ended the week with a special yahrtzeit shiur, in memory of Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi, zt"l, give by Rabbi Marc Angel. Rabbi Angel spoke about the life, thought and work of Rabbi Chaim David HaLevi, and shared stories of his own learning from and interactions with Rabbi