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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Moadim/Holidays

Mesechet Menachot: Chametz and Fertility

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on May 13, 2011

Mesechet Menachot (53) addressed the prohibition to make menachot out of chametz.  Menachot, grain sacrifices, are usually made as matzah, unleavened bread.  There are some, notably the shetei ha’lechem, the two loaves that are brought on Shavuot, which are chametz.  Nevertheless, such chametz offerings are never burned on the altar, and the Torah explicitly prohibits this: “For all leaven and all honey you shall not offer up as a burnt offering to God” (Vayikra 3:11).…

Chametz and Matzah: The Risks and Rewards of Engaging the World

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on April 22, 2011

The Torah calls Passover the “Feast of Matzot” and it commands us both to eat matzot on the first night and to not eat chametz, or leavened bread, for the entire 7 day holiday. The Torah’s prohibitions regarding chametz seem inordinately severe: the punishment for eating it is greater than for eating most prohibited foods.…

Pesach – How to Transform the World without Losing Yourself in the Process

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on April 8, 2011

I would like to share that text and my reflections on a profound Sfat Emet on the topic of Pesach and personal identity.   I found this piece to be particularly meaningful in the context of my comments on parshat Metzorah.  Here is the text: כי זכירה היא נקודה פנימית שאין בה שכתה.…

The Evolution of the Mitzvah of Matzah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 19, 2010

While we rule that it is a mitzvah d’oraitta to eat matzah on the seder night, it is far from clear as far as the simple sense of the verses are concerned. It is interesting to see how Hazal interpreted the verses to come to this conclusion.…

A Pseudo-Korban Pesach

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 12, 2010

There is good evidence that the practice of a pseudo-korban pesach existed – not on bringing it on Har HaBayit without a Beit HaMikdash, but outside of the environs of the Beit HaMikdash and Jerusalem. The Tosefta in Ohalot (3:9) tells of a burial that took place in Beit Dagan on erev Pesach.…

Korban Pesach Nowadays

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 5, 2010

Parshat Parah, a special maftir read before pesach, is read to remind us of the period of purification that preceded the bringing of the korban Pesach on the 14th of Nissan. While for most of us, this is a reminder of a thousands-year-old practice that became obsolete with the destruction of the Temple, this is not true for all.…

Finding God in the Megillah – How the Megillah Got to be Part of the Tanakh

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 26, 2010

The Gemara (Megilah 7a) raises the question whether Megilat Esther is part of the canon, is part of Tanakh. The halakhic expression of this is whether it is metamei et ha’yadayim, ritually impurifies the hands. As is recorded in Mishna Yadayim (3:5 and 4:6), kitvei hakodesh, holy Scriptures, cause tumat yadayim, impurity of the hands.…

Understanding Kedusha Through Hilkhot Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 18, 2009

When studying Chanukah, we often study the classic sugyot from Mesekhet Shabbat (21b-23a). However, a more obscure sugya – “The violators (pritzim) came and profaned it” in Avoda Zara, 52B – provides important insights as well. Based on this verse from Ezekiel 7:22, the Gemara states that when the Beit HaMikdash was violated in the time of the Hasmoneans, the altar lost its sanctity and, when the Hasmoneans were victorious, they needed to dismantle and bury the now desacralized altar.…

Yaakov, Striving and the Miracle of Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 11, 2009

In parshat Veyeishev, Yaakov, having finally endured the hardship and travails in the house of Lavan, and having finally returned to his homeland, the land of Canaan, and having reconciled with his brother Esav who (implicitly) agreed to relinquish his claim to the land, is now able to finally settle in the land of his fathers and to put all his troubles behind him: “And Yaakov settled in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.” However, as soon as this point is reached, the narrative turns to Yosef and his brothers, and Yaakov completely fades into the background: “These are the generations of Yaakov – Yosef was seventeen years…” Perhaps responding to this shift in the narrative, Chazal – as Rashi reminds us – comment on the first pasuk, “Vayeshev Yaakov – bikesh Yaakov lashevet bishalva” – Yaakov wanted to dwell in tranquility, but God would not allow it because “there is enough tranquility for the righteous in the World-to-Come.” What is the meaning of this midrash?…

A Silent Rosh Hashanah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 14, 2009

Occasionally, the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat. And so, after a month of blowing shofar in anticipation of this great day, we celebrate the first day of Rosh Hashanah in silence. For most of us, this is greatly distressing – the very character of the day and our experience of its profundity are created through the blowing of the shofar, and we must sacrifice this for what seems like a minor concern – lest a person might forget and carry the shofar in the public domain.…

Shavuot: A Holiday of Communal Justice

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on August 6, 2009

The holiday of Shavuot is generally assumed to commemorate the giving of the Torah, which occurred on the 6th of Sivan. In the Torah, however, Shavuot is only described as an agricultural holiday and occurs not on any particular calendrical date, but at the culmination of seven weeks from the beginning of the harvest season that occurs on the second day of Pesach.…

Chuppah and Har Sinai

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on August 6, 2009

When we move from sefer Vayikra to sefer Bamidbar, we are finally moving away from Har Sinai, where Bnei Yisrael have been for almost a year. From the middle of Shemot through the end of Vayikra, they have been encamped at the foot of Har Sinai, having received the Torah, mitzvot and the laws, and then all the laws of the Kohanim, through Kedoshim and Behar Bichukotai.…