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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

About Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss founded YCT in 1999. He is founding Rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, a congregation of 850 families in Bronx, NY. Rabbi Weiss is the National President of the AMCHA – the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, a grassroots organization that speaks out for Jewish causes throughout the world. He has authored two books: “Women at Prayer: A Halakhic Analysis of Women’s Prayer Groups” and “Principles of Spiritual Activism.”

Written by Rabbi Avi Weiss

Let’s Be Clear: Orthodox Jews Deeply Pro-Zionist

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, July 5, 2016

Recently, the Chronicle ran a curious and disturbing picture of a Chassidic Jew embracing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a conference of Holocaust deniers. The picture has outraged Jews all over the world. That embrace represents a betrayal of Jewish sensitivities and a disgrace to the victims of the Holocaust.…

It’s Never Too Late

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, July 5, 2016

God has blessed Toby and me with three wonderful children: Dena, Elana and Dov. We were also blessed with a fourth child born between Elana and Dov.  His name was Yitzchak Rafael.  It will be 40 years ago this coming December that Yitzchak Rafael came into this world. …

Bringing Spirituality Into the Synagogue

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, July 5, 2016

The purpose of this paper is to bring a particular approach to spirituality. There are other models. Still, it is an understanding that I have found to be of meaning, and one steeped in Jewish sources. We will analyze spirituality by first defining the term; second, offering a pathway to achieve spirituality; third, suggesting ways to bring spirituality into the synagogue; finally, outlining what rabbis need to do to bring spirituality into their communities.…

Women and The Reading of the Megillah

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, July 5, 2016

May women read the Megillah for other women, and for that matter, may women read the Megillah for men? This was originally written for the Torah U-Maddah Journal in 1999. Click here to read the full piece.…

A Modern Orthodox Rabbi’s Creed

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, July 5, 2016

As a Modern Orthodox Rabbi, I profess an unequivocal commitment to the truth, validity, and eternal applicability of the Halakhic system. No less than my brethren on the Orthodox Right, I believe in Torah Mi-Sinai, the law given by God at Sinai, to which the Jewish people committed itself. …

Ten Spiritual Kernels For The Yamim Nora’im

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, July 5, 2016

Please enjoy this recording of a High Holidays Sermon that Rav Avi gave in California last month. Click here for the PDF source sheet. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4…

Jewish Blood Is Not Cheap

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, May 25, 2016

Although the Torah often points out the infinite value of every human life, this week’s parsha gives a clear message about the value of Jewish life. We are told that no one will be permitted to murder Jews with impunity. In the Shirat Hayam (Song at the Sea), Moshe (Moses) and the Jewish people use three expressions to describe the downfall of the Egyptians.…

A Message of Inclusiveness At The Foot of Mt. Sinai

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, May 25, 2016

  The Torah tells us that at the moment of revelation all the Jews at Sinai were able to see. (Exodus 20:15) Is it possible that of the several million there was not one single person who was blind? Here Rashi responds and states that in fact a miracle occurred.…

The Integral Connection Between Prayer and Action

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, May 25, 2016

The Talmud states that the source of prayer is the biblical phrase: “And you shall serve Him with all your heart.” (Deuteronomy 11:13) Service is usually associated with action. One can serve with his or her hands or feet but how does one serve with the heart?…

The Unique Character of the Holiness of Jerusalem

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, May 25, 2016

Parshat Terumah talks about the first synagogue of all time – the mishkan. Because the chasm between the finite human being and the infinite God is great, the mishkan was established so that there would be a tangible place where people could feel more intensely, more powerfully, the presence of God.…

Sacrifices Celebrate Our Love of God

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, May 25, 2016

Parshat Tzav continues the theme of the sacrificial service. There are many suggestions as to the reasoning behind this enigmatic, yet important element of our tradition. Ramban understands the Mishkan (tabernacle) as a kind of portable Mt. Sinai. Mt. Sinai was a physical mountain through which the Jewish people were able to feel God’s presence more powerfully.…

The Hidden Message of the Four Children

by Rabbi Avi Weiss, May 25, 2016

The literal approach to the Haggadah’s four children is straightforward. On four different occasions, the Torah describes questions asked by children about Passover. Based on the language of the question, the author of the Haggadah labels each of them. One questioner is described as wise, the second rebellious, the third simple, and the fourth not even knowing how to ask.…