REVIEW: Nishmat Ha-Bayit

Joel B. Wolowelsky Tradition Online | May 2, 2022

Nishmat Ha-Bayit: Contemporary Questions on Women’s Reproductive Health Addressed by Yoatzot Halacha, edited by Yehuda-Herzl Henkin and Chana Henkin (Maggid Books, Nishmat & OU Press), 376 pages

The arrival of the English edition of collected halakhic writing by women addressing the most sensitive areas in women’s halakhic living is a welcome addition to the Jewish bookshelf and the tables of batei midrash (now populated by women as well as by men). Collating the responsa of Nishmat’s Yoatzot Halacha, and edited by that institution’s founding couple, the book surveys dozens of topics in the wide area of women’s reproductive halakha and health. The book is also a testament to the enduring impact of R. Yehuda Herzl Henkin z”l on this field and so many others in Jewish life and learning.

When the original Hebrew edition of the book appeared a few years ago it was reviewed in our pages by consulting editor Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky (TRADITION, Spring 2019), who observed that “publication of Sefer Nishmat Ha-Bayit – a volume of 63 responsa and five medical appendices – is an important event worthy of note by both the lay and rabbinic Orthodox community. Yet, that is not because it breaks new halakhic ground; indeed, it is mainstream in every way. Rather, it is important because it marks the latest stage in Rabbanit Chana Henkin’s creative and important Nishmat Yoetzet Halacha Program.”

Read the front matter of Nishmat Ha-Bayit and Dr. Wolowelsky’s review of the book’s Hebrew edition.


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