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MHL Course Description


The MHL curriculum revolves around the traditional subjects (Chumash/Rashi, Gemorrah, Shulchan Arukh, Chassidus), as well as areas of practical application in the contemporary rabbinate (writing, public speaking, and organizational management.) Special attention will be paid to the laws of Kashrus (Ta’aruvas, Basar v’Chalav, and Melicha), Mourning, and Shabbos. 

The material is learned in chevrusa-style one-on-one study. The students will prepare the required Talmud with the following commentaries: Rashi, the commentary by Rabbi Sholom ben Yitzhak (1040-1105); The Halachos of the Rosh, Rabbenu Asher ben Yechiel, Halackik authority (1245-1328); The Halachos of the Rif, Rabbenu Yitzhak Alfassi, a Halachic authority (1013-1103); The Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, or Maimonides, codifier of Halachah (1135-1205); The Tur, Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher, Baal Haturim, codifier of Halacha (1269-1343); Bait Yosef, Rabbi Yosef Karo, commentator to the Tur (1488-1575); followed by the Shulchan ‘Arukh, Code of Jewish Law by Rabbi Yosef Karo; The Mapa of Rema, glosses on the Code of Jewish Law by Rabbi Moshe Iserlish (d. 1572); The Taz, Turai Zahav, commentary to Shulchan ‘Arukh by Rabbi David Halevi (1586-1667); and the Shach, Sifsei Cohen, commentary to Shulchan ‘Arukh by Rabbi Shabsi HaCohain (1622-1633). There will be a weekly class given by the rosh yeshiva, summarizing material covered during chevrusa learning and/or examining other Halachic sources, such as: The Pry Megadim, commentary to the Shach and Taz by Rabbi Yosef Tumim (1727-1792); The Chavas Daas, commentary to Shulchan ‘Arukh by Rabbi Yaakov Lorbernaum (1760-1832); Dagul Mervavah, glosses on the Shulchan ‘Arukh by Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (1713-1793); Chiddushei Rabbi Akiva Eiger, glosses on the Shulchan ‘Arukh by Rabbi Akiva Eigeri (1761-1857); and Pischei Teshuvah, glosses on the Shulchan ‘Arukh referencing response by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eisenstadt (1812-1868). 

The granting or Yoreh Yoreh Smicha means that its recipient has sufficient proficiency in Talmud and Judaic Law, and has developed appropriate spiritual qualities and personal development, to become a leader of a community or a teacher, and can decide on matters of religious law. 

Students will take four courses per term for a total of 32 credit hours 

GRADES: The work of each student is graded on the following scale:A (93 - 100%), A- (90 - 92%) Excellent, B+ (87 - 89%), B (83 - 86%), B- (80 - 82%) Good, C+ (77 - 79%), C (73 - 76%), C- (70 - 72%) Fair, D+ (67 - 69%), D (63 - 66%), D- (60 - 62%) Poor, F (below 50%) Failure, NC No credit, AU Audit, P Pass, W Withdrawn without penalty or prejudice, I Incomplete work.


Graduate M.H.L. courses are numbered between 500 - 699. Those numbered between 500 - 599 are taught at an introductory level and those between 600 - 699 are at an advanced level.

NOTE: For 2023-2024, all students should enroll for PHL 560


TXT 501:             

Weekly Portion (3 credit hours)

Studies of the weekly Torah portion, read with commentaries by Rashi and others.


TXT 510:             

Selected Torah Analysis (3 credit hours)

Selected sections from the Torah will be read together with commentaries.


TXT 601:             

Shabbat 1 (3 credit hours)

Selections pertaining to Shabbat from the Shulchan Aruch HaRav by R. Schneur Zalman Liadi


TXT 602:             

Shabbat 2 (3 credit hours)

A continuation of TXT 601


TXT 603:             

Shabbat 3 (3 credit hours)

A continuation of TXT 602


TXT 691, 692:    

Independent Textual Studies (3 credit hours)

Advanced, intensive studies of selected Jewish Texts (Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor)




HIST 502:

Studies in Jewish History (3 credit hours)

This course is a series of lectures (followed  by private discussions) by invited scholars of aspects of Jewish history. A CYS faculty member will coordinate the series and will oversee a written assignment.

HIST 532:

Jews, Judaism, and Cultures (variable credit hours)

This course will be an in-depth exploration of how Jews have interacted with various cultures, and how Judaism has responded to its cultural contexts. The course might be a lecture series or taught by one professor, depending on the topic. Among these topics might be Jews and the American Film Industry, Jews and Humor, Jewish interactions with cultures in India, or in Iran, Jewish poetry in Arabic-speaking lands, and the like. Students will be required to prepare short essays on each topic covered, utilizing both reading and lecture materials.



LAW 501, 502, 503:

Laws of Meat and Dairy (3 credit hours each)

The primary Judaic Law codebook, the Shulchan ‘Aruch, is read, along with commentaries such as the Mapa of Rema, the Taz, and the Shach. (Prerequisites: LAW 501 is prerequisite for LAW 502, and LAW 502 is prerequisite for LAW 503)


LAW 505:            

Laws of Mixtures (3 credit hours each)

An examination of aspects of Judaic dietary laws drawn from the Shulchan 'Aruch, Rambam’s Mishne Torah, and sections from the Babylonian Talmud.


LAW 507:            

Laws of Salting (3 credit hours)

An examination of aspects of Judaic dietary laws drawn from the Babylonian Talmud and codified in Rambam’s Mishne Torah and Karo’s Shulchan 'Aruch.


LAW 508:            

Laws of Treifos (3 credit hours)


LAW 510:            

Laws of Mourning (3 credit hours)

An analysis of death and mourning rituals and laws as found in the code of Judaic Law, commentaries and response. The student will learn how to approach various halachic issues frequently raised by practicing rabbis.


LAW 520:            

Laws of Shabbat (3 credit hours)


LAW 620:            

Contemporary Responsa (3 credit hours)

An analysis of contemporary response literature.


LAW 621:            

Contemporary Judaic Law(3 credit hours)

The interface between Halachah and issues confronting contemporary society as seen through the prism of responsa literature. Topics include privacy, abortion, assisted suicide, transplants, surrogate motherhood, agama, extradition, and other current issues. (Prerequisite: Any 500-level LAW course)


LAW 650:            

Rosh Yeshiva’s Seminar (3 credit hours)

A weekly class reviewing and expanding upon learning done in the chevrusa (tutorial) format during the week. Sources include The Pri Megadim, the Chavas Ds, the Dagul Meravavah, the Chiddushei Rabbi Akiva Eiger, and the Pischei Teshuvah. (Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor)


LAW 691, 692:   

Independent Studies of Jewish Law (3 credit hours)

Advanced, intensive studies of topics in Jewish Law. (Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor)




PHL 501:             

Sources of Chassidus (3 credit hours)

Readings of selections from the Tanya its philosophical commentaries.


PHL 510:             

Mystical Interpretation of the Bible (3 credit hours)

Chassidic writing from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries.

PHL 560:

Torah & Science (variable credit hours)

Explore the convergence between Torah and cosmology, physics, psychology, medicine, mathematics, archaeology etc.  Offered in conjunction with Machon Lev (Jerusalem Institute of Technology)


PHL 691, 692:    

Independent Studies in Chassidic Philosophy (3 credit hours)

Advanced, intensive studies of topics in Chassidic Philosophy

(Prerequisite: Any 500-level LAW course, plus Consent of Instructor)




Note: All PRO courses are taken on a Pass/Fail basis.


PRO 501:            

Writing (3 credit hours)

This course will expose students to a wide array of writing genres, discuss specific concepts of writing and language structure, and work on editing and re-writing skills within a practical context and mindful of content and audience. Writing assignments are given both in and out of class and are reviewed and critiqued on an individual basis with the instructor.


PRO 510:            

Public Speaking (3 credit hours)

Course geared toward preparing prospective rabbis for the task of cogently presenting concepts and ideas, both from the pulpit and in a more didactic setting. The skills promoted include the use of self-presentation, organization and visual aids. The students regularly present to the class followed by a critique by the classmates and instructor.


PRO 520:            

Organizational Management (3 credit hours)

The goal of this course is to familiarize the prospective rabbi with group dynamics as they impact on the synagogue, classroom or committees. The perspective of the “group” as an entity with a life of its own will be highlighted, including concepts such as leadership, roles, scapegoating and projecting. Understanding and managing such groups will be considered through presentation and discussion of typical scenarios for the rabbi, community leader or educator.


PRO 530:            

Teaching Practicum (3 credit hours; may be repeated for credit)

Under the supervision of the Rosh Yeshiva, an exploration of pedagogic techniques in both classroom and tutorial settings.


PRO 610:            

Pastoral Counseling (3 credit hours)

By developing self-awareness and personal insight, the prospective rabbi will have a basis for dealing with issues of marital conflict, conflict resolution, spiritual growth, separation and  divorce, sexual orientation crisis intervention, death and mourning, illness, and acute psychiatric illnesses or catastrophic life events.

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