Definition of responsum in English:


nounplural noun responsa/-sə/ /rɪˈspɑnsə/

  • A written reply by a rabbi or Talmudic scholar to an inquiry on some matter of Jewish law.

    ‘Those who wrote, and write, the responsa are the rabbis, an office formalized around the time of the fall of the Second Temple, and whose function is contemplated even by the written Torah itself.’
    • ‘Indeed, he had continued writing halachic responsa almost until the moment of her death.’
    • ‘Probably the most useful halachic literature for evaluating medical ethics issues from a Jewish perspective are the many thousands of responsa written over the last thousand years that deal with every conceivable aspect of life.’
    • ‘After the war he retrieved his notes and began writing them out as full-length rabbinical rulings, or responsa.’
    • ‘If you have complaints, try looking through the scripts and responsa as to why these laws are in place.’



/rəˈspänsəm/ /rəˈspɑnsəm/


Latin, literally ‘reply’.