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.

Finding responsa online

Bar Ilan Responsa Project
Includes the Hebrew texts of the Tanakh, Talmuds, early commentaries, and many responsa
More options are available to HUC students and faculty by accessing the Responsa Project 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)

While the Library thinks that these sites are useful, their content is not under our control and may express views that are not shared by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

If you have any further questions about finding information on this, or any other topic, ask your local HUC-JIR librarian or email us using the form on the campus library homepage.