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The Rebbetzin Shoshana Schwartz, ע”ה, Torah Essay Contest: Letter to Students

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Dear Students,

These past months of the pandemic have presented many challenges to everyone. You, as students, have made many difficult, yet necessary adjustments. Your desire to continue intense Torah learning despite the obstacles that we have all endured is worthy of particular praise.

We at the Chicago Rabbinical Council join in acknowledging your achievements. For the second year, we proudly present this year’s expanded Rebbetzin Shoshana Schwartz Essay Contest to all eligible senior students in our schools.

You may submit an entry in one of two categories. We will select a first place winner and three runners-up for each category.


The same general rules apply as in past years. You may choose any topic or episode in TaNaCH that you wish.



Choose from the following topics:


  • Does Halacha allow for the system of prioritizing medical treatment and allotment of supplies and equipment known as “triage”?
  • בדיעבד and שעת הדחק considerations
  • Balancing safety concerns with halachic imperative (e.g. Mikveh, Bris, etc.)
  • Realistic health concerns, generalized government policy and Halachic imperatives


  • Halachic norms in attaining a balance between communal unity and individual expression
  • Application of the Halachic principle of דינא דמלכותא דינא


  • אבלות during a pandemic  (Tahara, Burial, Shiva, Stone dedication)
  • Celebrating שמחות from a distance (Bris, Bar/Bas Mitzva, Weddings, Sheva Brachot)


  • Productive Disagreements v. מחלוקת שלא לשם שמים

Beth Din

  • גיטין with social distancing and travel restrictions
  • Geirut
  • חשן משפט matters concerning contracts and employees in a pandemic

Commercial Kashrut

  • The requirements for supervision and accommodations during a pandemic when normal access to inspect ingredients and production may be reduced.