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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Vayeitzei

How a Baby Is Made

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 8, 2016

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How is a Baby Made?  More specifically, what determines the future characteristics of the child?  One answer emerges from the story of Yaakov’s breeding of the sheep, an answer that seems to be endorsed by the Talmud: a child’s character is shaped by what the mother and father were thinking and doing at the time 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 »

Every Relationship Contains Elements of Surprise

by Rabbi Avi Weiss Posted on May 21, 2016

How is it possible that Yaakov (Jacob) didn’t know that he spent his wedding night with Leah rather than Rachel? The text says, “and it came to pass in the morning and behold it was Leah” (Genesis 29:25). Some commentators suggest that this reveals the extraordinary modesty of Yaakov and Leah-all through the night, they Continue Reading »

A Marriage of Equals?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 19, 2015

In the Torah story of Avraham’s servant and his interaction with Rivka, her brother, and her mother, we saw that society in Padan Aram had an unusual family structure. As a matrilineal society, households were comprised of the children of the same mother, and the head of the household was the mother’s oldest brother, perhaps Continue Reading »

God, Money and Ma’aser

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 8, 2013

God promises Yaakov many things when God appears to him in the dream of the ladder and the angels: the Land of Israel, future children, Divine protection, and a safe return to his ancestral home. These blessings certainly seem to be extensive and all-encompassing. It is thus fascinating to see how, when Yaakov arises the Continue Reading »

Give Truth to Yaakov

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 2, 2011

Give truth to Yaakov, loving-kindness to Avraham…” (Micah 7:20), the prophet Micha asks of God, and thus, in kabbalistic literature, Avraham comes to represent the attribute of chesed, loving-kindness, while Yaakov represents the attribute of emet, truth.  While it is not at all difficult to see how Avraham is associated with loving-kindness  – witness his Continue Reading »

“This is None Other than the House of God” – Building a House that Endures

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 12, 2010

Yaakov runs away from his brother, falls asleep, has a vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder, and God appears to him and promises to watch over him.  He then wakes up and declares: “This is none other than the house of the Lord and this is the gate of heaven,” on which the Continue Reading »