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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Mitzvot

Ramban on Reasons for the Commandments

by Dr. David ShatzPosted on October 26, 2016

Making (Some) Sense of Amalek

by Miriam GedwiserPosted on October 21, 2016

Should Torah be a Choice?

by Rabbi Haggai ResnikoffPosted on October 7, 2016

Although voluntary buy-in is a more motivational incentive than extrinsic reward and certainly more than threat of punishment, there may still be good reason to insist that Jewish education and general keeping of mitzvot be mandatory and not a choice. Declaring something as mandatory emphasizes its importance, and, despite emotional objections, it can help ingrain Continue Reading »

What is a Halakhic Jewish Identity?

by Rabbi Haggai ResnikoffPosted on October 6, 2016

Apart from the “Shema Yisra’el” with which we are so familiar, Parshat Va’etchanan has three other instances where we see similar instructions for Israel to listen. What do the Other Shema Yisraels have that our Shema doesn’t. Considering their emphasis, wouldn’t it be better to recite them twice daily rather than our Shema? What does our Shema Continue Reading »

Whose Religion is this?

by Rabbi Haggai ResnikoffPosted on September 9, 2016

It is a truism among us that keeping the Halakha is synonymous with doing God’s will. However, our sources provide a strong argument that this is not always the case. Some sources (like the Grand Inquisitor) suggest that God’s will should trump rabbinic authority. Others (like Tanuro shel Achnai) present the paradox that it is Continue Reading »

Walking the Tightrope

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 4, 2016

Mishpatim has many, many laws. So many that one may be misled into believing that the entirety of one’s obligation as a Jew is halakha and mitzvah. However the end of the parasha makes it clear that all of these mitzvot occur in the context of a brit, a covenant: And Moses wrote all the words of Continue Reading »

Remind Me: What Are We Supposed to be Remembering?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 21, 2016

The story of Amalek is recorded twice in the Torah: once in Beshalach, and again at the end of Parashat Ki Teitzei in Devarim. In Beshalach, we are instructed to write a record of what Amalek did to us, but we are not commanded to actively remember the events. God also declares that God has waged Continue Reading »

How Covenant Frames Obligations

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 10, 2012

After crossing the Red Sea, seeing the drowning of the Egyptians, experiencing the first hardships of the desert, and receiving the quail and the manna from God, the Children of Israel have finally arrived at their first destination, Mt. Sinai. While the Land of Israel still awaits, their initial demand to leave Egypt was to Continue Reading »

Mitzvot and their Interpretation: The Role of Values and Narrative

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 12, 2011

Ki Teitze is a parsha densely packed with mitzvot. A new mitzvah appears almost every few verses, and sometimes even more frequently. It is, in a way, the parshat Mishpatim or the parshat Kedoshim of Devarim. Now, of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what Continue Reading »

Magical Mezuzahs? Not so Much

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on April 14, 2011

In Masechet Menachot, there is a very rich section that deals with the laws of tefillin and mezuzah.   A particular theme of interest, especially in the context of the korban Pesach, is that of the mezuzah as an object that protects the house.   This idea is never stated in the Torah.  To the contrary, Continue Reading »

Mesechet Zevachim: Intent and Sacrifices

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 18, 2011

One of the major themes of Zevachim – and the one that opens mesekhet Menachot as well- is that of intent.  The concepts of shelo li’shma, intending the wrong sacrifice, and pigul, intending to eat it at the wrong time, factor very heavily throughout the mesekhet.  Now, when we look at the verses this is Continue Reading »

God’s Hand and Our Responsibility

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 18, 2009

The story of Yosef and his brothers continues in Mikeitz when Yosef is taken from the dungeon and raised to be the viceroy of Egypt. It is then that his dreams begin to become reality, as his brothers come to Egypt and bow down to Yosef, eventually bringing their youngest brother, Binyamin, with them. It Continue Reading »