Today is November 20, 2017 / /

The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Non-Jews & Other Religions

The Seductions of Idolatry

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 26, 2016

Much of the book of Devarim is devoted to warning the people against being seduced by idolatry when they enter the land. It is often hard for us to appreciate why idolatry was such a temptation in the past. To better understand the attraction, we must look more closely at the metaphors and images the verses use in the exhortations against it.…

So, What’s the Story With… Christianity?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 26, 2016

Last week we explored how the Torah’s prohibitions against idolatry fall into two categories: 1) the belief in and worship of foreign gods and 2) the representation or worship of God through an image or any physical concretization. These recur throughout the book of Devarim in regular warnings against the seductions of idolatry, and we find them again in Parashat Eikev: The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.…

Break Down Their Altars: The Limits of Interfaith

by Rabbi Haggai ResnikoffPosted on September 6, 2016

Although the written Torah suggests in various places a violent relationship with other religions- particularly those that involve avodah zarah (best but incompletely translated as “idolatry”)- we find in the Sages a mixed bag of how we should treat other religions.…

Social Justice– Circles of Responsibility

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on August 5, 2016

The Torah in many places obligates us to take care of our “brother”.  It is clear from many verses that this word often does not mean generically “another person,” but specifically someone of our tribe – a fellow member of the people of Israel.   …

Unequal Justice? – Does Halakha Tolerate Unethical Behavior Towards the Other? Part 4: Halakhic Strategies for Minimizing the Distinctions and Darkhei Shalom

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on July 20, 2016

Introduction In Part I of this series we explored areas where the halakha – as articulated in the Talmud – has made distinctions between our obligation to Jews and our obligation to Gentiles.  The following chart is based on a similar chart which appeared at the end of Part I.  …

Unequal Justice? – Does Halakha Tolerate Unethical Behavior Towards the Other? Part 3: Acts Against Person

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on July 20, 2016

Key points In our discussion of distinctions in the area of acts against person, pay attention to the following key points as we work through our sources: Biblical terms – are there any limiting words such as achikha, rei’echa or amitcha in the verses dealing with injury and murder?…

Unequal Justice? – Does Halakha Tolerate Unethical Behavior Towards the Other? Part 2: Acts Against Property

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on July 20, 2016

Key points In our discussion of distinctions in the area of acts against property, pay attention to the following key points as we work through our sources: Biblical terms – amitcha and rei’echa are the key terms that are used in this area of law.  …

Unequal Justice? – Does Halakha Tolerate Unethical Behavior Towards the Other? Part 1: Acts of Financial Aid and Assistance

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on July 14, 2016

Introduction – Three Categories of Distinctions In halakha, many distinctions can be found between the treatment of Jews and Gentiles.  The point here is not in regards to ritual matters, such as marriage, or food, or houses of worship, but in regards to what we would call in a secular context civil and criminal law.  …

On The Mitzvot of Non-Jews: An Analysis of Avodah Zarah 2B-3A

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on July 5, 2016

Non-Jews are commanded to observe the seven Noahide laws. A logical corollary of this is that they are to be rewarded for their performance of these mitzvot, and held liable for transgressing them. This assumption, however, is brought into question by the sugyah around the statement of Rav Yosef in Avodah Zara 2B-3A (paralleled in Bava Kama 35a)… This article was originally published in the Milin Havivin, Vol 1.…

Is Christianity Avoda Zara to Christians?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 16, 2011

As both Chanukkah and Christmas draw near, it is appropriate to discuss of the evolution of halakha’s approach to Christianity. Tosafot in Bekhorot, 2b, had said that one does not transgress by having a Christian take an oath in the name of God and a saint.…

Torah from our Beit Midrash

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 2, 2011

  While a little postponed, I would like to finish up the discussion from two weeks ago on the topic of attitudes towards Christianity, which arose in the daf yomi at the beginning of Bekhorot.  The Talmud (Bekhorot 2b) had stated that a person could not enter into a partnership with a non-Jew, lest the non-Jew have to take an oath, and he would then do so in the name of his god. …

Mesechet Berachot: Speaking of Christianity

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 18, 2011

On the very first page (2b) of Mesechet Berachot, the Gemara discusses, on a bit of a tangent, the statement of the father of Shmuel that it is forbidden to go into partnership with a  non-Jew, lest non-Jew will be required to take an oath to verify his claim in a dispute, and this oath will be taken in the name of a foreign god. …