Responsa

Responsa

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."

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.

Recommended websites

Responsa

Bar Ilan Responsa Project

Includes the Hebrew texts of the Tanakh, Talmuds, early commentaries, codes, and many responsa. Searching is allowed from anywhere, more features are available (saving, printing, etc.) from the HUC campus or through the Jewish Studies Portal.

CCAR Responsa

This searchable resource is only available from the HUC campuses

Halacha Brura and Berur Halacha

This site contains like to Rabbinic texts from many sites.

Responsa for Today

Responsa from the Conservative/Masorti movement.

Seforim Online

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