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Responsa (She'elot u-teshuvot)

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 5 months ago

While the Bible (the written law) and the Talmud (the oral law) cover many topics, sometimes a question comes up that is not directly addressed in these works. In that case, a rabbi or other community leader would write to a rabbi asking a question.  Collections of the questions and their accompanying answers are called "responsa." Read more about the history of responsa.


Finding responsa in the catalog

Do a browse subject search under: responsa

You can also add a time period, e.g. responsa 1040-1600

To find responsa on specific topics, do a keyword search, e.g. subject: responsa and subject marriage

This will find books that are written on that topic.  It will not find individual responsa in more general collections.


Finding responsa on the shelf

Most collections of responsa will be shelved in BM 522. They will be in alphabetic order by the author's name.  Collections by more than one author are in BM 522 A1.  If a books is on a specific topic, it will be shelved with that topic, i.e. a book with responsa on marriage will be shelved with other works on marriage, not with the general responsa.


Finding responsa online

Responsa Project - Torah literature and Jewish texts | פרויקט השו"ת - ספרות תורנית

This database includes Torah, Talmud, codes, and commentaries in addition to works of responsa. Texts are available in Hebrew only. Basic searching is available to anyone, but advanced features are only available to subscribers.  The HUC community can access the full features through the Jewish Studies Portal 


Reform Responsa



Seforim Online

Many older rabbinic works are available in PDF form on this site.



Halacha Brura and Birur Halacha Institute


A list of links to various digitized books and manuscripts.


Responsa for Today (Masorti/Conservative)



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