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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Vayeira

Speaking Truth to Power

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 23, 2016

Our responsibility to speak truth to power and protect victims of injustice, whether Jew or non-Jew, is a major theme of one of the central stories of parashat VaYeira, the story of Avraham arguing with God to defend Sodom and Amorah. …

Why Did God Test Avraham?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 18, 2016

Why did God test Avraham with the command to offer Yitzchak as a sacrifice?  This is really two questions. First, what purpose was the akeidah meant to serve? And second, how could God have commanded such a reprehensible act, implicitly condoning murder, even if the plan was to retract the command all along?…

Akeidat Yitzchak: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on October 27, 2016

How To Read Like Hazal: Why Did God Not Conceal the Fate of Sedom from Avraham?

by Rabbi Aryeh KlapperPosted on October 26, 2016

Hagar’s Place in Destiny

by Michelle Friedman, MDPosted on May 25, 2016

How might we understand the Hagar narrative? We find the first Hagar episode in Lech Lecha, where she conceives Ishmael. Parshat Vayera swings between emotional highs and lows and is rich with lessons concerning how God’s children should properly parent their own offspring so that the legacy of creation is transmitted forward.…

Passionate Judaism or Rational Judaism?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on October 30, 2015

Do we want a religion of fire or ice, of passionate religious fervor or sober, detached rationality? In many ways, Modern Orthodoxy has chosen the latter. This goes beyond an emphasis on the intellectual, on prizing Talmudic scholarship and broad academic achievement.…

Seeing (as) God

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 4, 2014

As our parasha opens, God appears, va’yeira, to Avraham while he is sitting by the opening of his tent. Immediately thereafter, Avraham sees, va’yar, three men standing near him. He sees them again, and he runs to greet them. This pairing of God appearing and Avraham seeing brings us back to the beginning of Parashat Lekh Lekha.…

Killing in the Name of God?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on October 18, 2013

Is it ever permissible to kill an innocent person in the name of God?  Both our religious and ethical intuitions scream “no”! Halakha and Torah values consistently underscore the sanctity of human life and the injustice of allowing harm to come to innocent people, and from an ethical standpoint such an act is the very definition of murder.…

To Do Righteousness and Justice

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 2, 2012

This Tuesday, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many YCT semikha students went down to the Lower East Side to help those suffering from the effects of the hurricane. Students spent several hours handing out water, batteries and flashlights to elderly people stuck in their apartments with no power.…

“Let’s Not Forget Mamre”

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 11, 2011

In a parasha that contains the stories of the birth and binding of Yitzchak, and the overturning  of Sodom, I wish to write about a seemingly trivial point. The pasuk states (Breishit 18:1): וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א  And the LORD appeared unto him in the palace of Mamre Mamre, I believe, is the unsung hero in Vayeira. …

“Will the Judge of the Earth not deal justly?!” – Arguing Ethics with God

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on November 6, 2009

Parshat Va’Yera has many powerful stories and images, but perhaps the two most powerful are the story of Avraham arguing with God to save Sodom and Amora, and the story that is climax of the parsha, Avraham offering Yitzchak up as a sacrifice.…