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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

Why Doesn’t Yom Kippur Come Before Rosh HaShana?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 25, 2016

The relationship between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is both obvious and complex. Obvious, in that Divine judgment and forgiveness are closely connected – we recognize that there is no one who can justify him or herself to their Creator, and thus a day of judgment requires a day of forgiveness which brings with it Continue Reading »

Can We Build Bridges Both to the Left and to the Right – Simultaneously?

by Rabbi Asher Lopatin Posted on September 23, 2016

Lessons from my first year at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah “Excuse me for a moment; I need to take this call,” I said to the rabbis I was meeting with at an important convention for Chareidi professionals dealing with practical halachic issues and public policy.  I had just stopped by the convention to meet rabbis who Continue Reading »

What’s Wrong with a Corporeal God?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 9, 2016

The idea that plain matter can be imbued with divine essence is a fundamentally dangerous doctrine according to the Torah. It leads to the fallacy that matter, and particularly humans can speak with the divine voice. This is problematic both from a practical and a theological point of view. Beside the fact that it makes Continue Reading »

Whose Religion is this?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted 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 »

Deception and Connection: Why Do We Deceive Those We Love?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 7, 2016

Jewish values oppose lying, deception, and dishonesty as a rule. And yet there are some moments, when they are acceptable and maybe even preferable to the truth. It is obvious that we should not participate in dishonesty that causes damage to others, and even dishonesty that really has no negative consequences should be avoided. On Continue Reading »

What Does It Take to Make a Match?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 7, 2016

There is a need in our community for a review of the criteria we use in selecting mates (values and personal traits rather than aesthetic and material concerns). In addition there is a need to reemphasize that making the choice is not enough- there is tremendous work that still needs to go into a marriage Continue Reading »

Break Down Their Altars: The Limits of Interfaith

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted 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. Some sources seem to suggest that violence was reserved for the biblical epoch while Continue Reading »

How Could We be Commanded to Commit Genocide?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 6, 2016

Amalek, as it appears in the פשט of the תנ”ך and in חז”ל and the later Midrashim is a tribe that raids others both for status and for economic necessity. The only way to be safe from a tribe with this kind of predatory culture is to destroy it entirely because any remnant will rebuild Continue Reading »

P’sak Halakhah and Women’s Voices

Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on September 5, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

Book Review: Be’einei Elohim Ve’Adam: Biblical Criticism and the Person of Faith

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz (Posted on August 19, 2016)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

Holy War

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 15, 2016

Now in the third parasha of Bamidbar, the Children of Israel have not moved since the middle of Shemot. God has descended upon Mount Sinai, proclaimed the Ten Commandments, laid the civil laws before all, and commanded the building of the Mishkan and its attendant laws. The people have organized the camp, they know how Continue Reading »

Responses to the Churban: Crying, Laughing and Taking Action

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 10, 2016

The most immediate response to the destruction of the Temple was crying, sorrow and lamentations – a response that we try to relive on Tisha b’Av.  But it is not possible, certainly on a national level, for the sense of tragedy and loss to dominate and define our religious life.  We thus find that soon Continue Reading »