Teshuvah (plural teshuvot) means "response."
Traditionally, the way Jewish law is formulated is that someone asks a question,
and a rabbi prepares a teshuvah, a response. Below you will find teshuvot
that Rabbi Leff has written, as well as links to teshuvot written by other
rabbis and to other sources in Jewish law. These opinions are Rabbi Leff's
only, they have not been voted on by the Conservative Movement's Law Committee,
and hence do not qualify as "official" positions of the Conservative Movement.
Rabbi Leff's Teshuvot:
Click on a question to see the full response.
Question: To what extent does an employee have an obligation to report
wrongdoing on the part of his or her employer?
A rabbi was asked about the following specific situation: an executive of a
company (a vice president, but not a corporate officer) knows that his employer
is failing to pay a technology licensing fee for the use of a patented
technology. What are his responsibilities relative to rebuking his superior and
informing others, such as his own company’s board of directors, or the
management of the company whose technology is being infringed? Is there a
responsibility to report the wrongdoing to law enforcement? In this particular
case, neither the employer nor the company whose technology is being infringed
is Jewish, and the company is headquartered in California. The CEO of the
company failing to pay the royalty has said they will pay the fee when the
company they owe it to comes after them for it. The two companies do not have a
contractual relationship. The company infringing the technology received the
technology from another source.
Question: Is it permitted to hold a
Purimshpiel in the middle of the Megillah reading?
The reading of the “whole Megillah” is a rather lengthy process, and it can be
difficult for children to sit through the whole thing. Furthermore, when Purim
is on a school night, some families may want to come for the Purimshpiel and
still get their children home at a reasonable time. Is it permitted to start the
Megillah reading, perform the Purimshpiel in the middle of the Megillah reading,
and then finish the Megillah reading afterwards to accommodate those for whom
this is an issue?
In communities where in the summer months sunset comes well after
, even the customary “early” time to recite Maariv, plag haminchah,
will be after
.This can be a burden for people
who want to follow the traditional practice of reciting their prayers before
eating the Sabbath meal, but who have children or others who would have a hard
time waiting until after
to eat dinner.On those occasions,
is it possible to recite Maariv earlier than plag haminchah?
May a convert choose to use a name other than Ploni ben/bat Avraham Avinu
v’Sarah Imanu? Especially today, when it is the custom in many congregations to call
people to the Torah by both the father and mother’s name, calling someone to the
Torah as Ploni ben/bat Avraham v’Sarah gives the appearance of announcing the
person’s status as a convert.Many
converts prefer not to be reminded of their status in such a public fashion.Also, with no disrespect towards Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imanu, some
converts may find that they relate more strongly to other Jewish figures of the
Teshuvot from other rabbis:
for Rabbi Stuart Kelman's teshuvah on gays and lesbians. The teshuvah
addresses the below questions:
I. May same-sex couples have an aliyah together when a joint aliyah makes sense,
for example, at a baby naming, the adoption of a child, or a bar or bat mitzvah?
(Our policy has been to allow joint aliyot on certain occasions, giving them,
for example, to parents or grandparents of a bar/bat mitzvah but not to uncles
II. May a gay or lesbian couple have an aliyah on the Shabbat preceding their
III. May commitment ceremonies be performed in our congregation?
The central issue is not about accepting gays and lesbians, but of sanctifying
Click here for
Rabbi Roy Tanenbaum's "Kosher Korner" with responses to over 100 questions
for Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl's article on "Organ Donation and Jewish Law."
"The case of organ donation is an example of the way Jewish law argues using
terminology and concepts which are specific to a particular religious tradition.
At the same time, this approach provides a model for others seeking a structured
way to examine questions of moral import."
The Jewish Law web site
presents a wealth of halachic information primarily from an Orthodox
perspective. Their web site is
The Reform movement also
publishes teshuvot on line. Their approach to halakhah is very different
than the Conservative movement's. Someone who considers himself a
Conservative or Orthodox Jew should not rely on one of their teshuvot without
checking with his rabbi first, but the teshuvot can still be interesting to
study. Teshuvot approved by the Central Conference of American Rabbis
(Reform) can be found at