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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Belief & Observance

shofar sitting on a granite countertop

Speaking During Mussaf: To Correct or Not To Correct?

On each day of Rosh HaShanah the shofar is blown no fewer than one hundred times in synagogue. The first thirty blasts before the mussaf service are known as tekiot d’meyushav, while the last seventy blasts blown during and after mussaf are known as tekiot d’meumad.…

the word Ha! scattered over a white background

Purim Parodies: Permitted or Past Nicht? Copy

Purim is distinguished by being a day in which all norms appear to be turned upside down. As it says in the megillah, “The very day on which the enemies of the Jews had expected to get them into their power, the opposite happened [venahafokhhu], and the Jews got the enemy into their power…The days were transformed [nepakh lahem] for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy” (Esther 9:1, 22).…

animation of the temple burning and the hebrew words for tisha b'av

Should Children Mourn the Loss of the Temple?

Anyone who has spent time at a Jewish summer camp has inevitably confronted questions regarding what children should or shouldn’t do in the weeks preceding Tisha B’Av and on Tisha B’Av itself. From the 17th of Tammuz, many Ashkenazim have the custom not to shave or conduct weddings, and beginning with Rosh Chodesh Av, there are additional customs such as refraining from bathing, laundering one’s clothes, and listening to live music.…

a page from a work of lurianic kabbalah

The Study of Kabbalah

The well-known custom of staying up all night on Shavuot to study Torah originated as a kabbalistic practice with roots in the Zohar. Every Shavuot, the Zohar explains, God marries the Jewish people once again, and the study of Torah beautifies the shechina (divine presence) before the marriage ceremony is to commence.…

chips aisle in a grocery store

Chametz She’Avar Alav HaPesach 

QUESTION  Westchester, NY  I have some חמץ שעבר עליו את הפסח. My school is doing a food drive this week. Can I donate my חמץ without concern for הנאה? The food drive is also a competition between classes. If I put it in one of the class boxes, would that be a problem?…

two diverging paths in a park with tall green trees and green grass. cloudy sky. like a fairybook. ethereal quality.

When Teshuvah Seems Impossible

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 30, 2021

Is it sometimes not possible to do teshuvah?  Or at least, can it feel that way? Many commentators have noted that initially it is not God who hardens Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus story. It is Pharaoh himself: “When Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and listened not unto them” (Ex.…

fully lit menorah leaning against jerusalem stone in the neighorhood of meah shaarim as the menorah illuminates the darkness around it

Publicizing the Miracle of Chanukkah to All

According to the Talmud (Shabbat 23b), we light candles on Chanukkah to publicize the miracle of the holiday (pirsumei nisa). This goal serves to determine where and when the candles should be lit so they can be seen by the maximum number of people.…

judah bedding tamar dressed as a prostitute and veiled

Deception That’s a Truth, and Deception That’s a Lie

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 24, 2021

How do the women in the Torah navigate a patriarchal society? One very rare model is Sarah. At times, Sarah silently follows Avraham’s directions, even when he misrepresents her–twice!–as his sister.  At other times, however, she is surprisingly very direct, particularly when it comes to Hagar and Yishmael: “Take my maidservant!”…

pretty and cute cottage with a white picket fence in the mid-fall as golden leaves are falling on the trees behind the house and on the lawn in front of the house

Our House Is a Very, Very Fine House

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 11, 2021

Yaakov is the first person in the Torah who articulates the idea of a house of God. “This is nothing other,” he says upon waking up, “than the house of God and this is the gate to heaven” (Gen. 28:17). The Rabbis point out the power of that concept of a house of God and its association with Yaakov.…

picture of a green salad with cherry tomatoes and carrots on a white plate on what looks like the table of a restaurant. looks delicious.

Parshat Noach: Why God Would Rather Just Have the Salad

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 7, 2021

The classic metaphor for America used to be that of the melting pot. People came from all different countries, cultures, backgrounds, and languages. They would come to America, and they would get homogenized and Americanized into one indistinguishable whole. Now a different metaphor has gained preeminence, and that is the metaphor of the salad bowl.…

painting featuring a giraffe, tiger, and elephant with trees and blue sky in the background. cheerful painting. angel hovers over the giraffe at the back of the line of the three animals.

What Will You Create?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 30, 2021

The Torah opens with God creating the world during the Six Days of Creation. Then follows Shabbat: va’yakhulu haShamayim, “And the Heavens and Earth, and all their hosts were completed.” Every Friday night, we open kiddush by reciting this verse and the verses that follow.…

a very realistic oil painting featuring a beautifulb bright red tree in autumn. a grassy walkway sits to the left. on the left side of the tree (our left) we see a bright yellow sunset. on the right side, the sky is a purple-y blue and some branches are barren. the hay on the ground is golden and red- it's a majestic fall scene.

Shmini Atzeret: The Yom Tov of Follow-Through

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 23, 2021

Shmini Atzeret is a hard holiday to understand. It has its own identity and its own name. It is Shmini, the eighth day of Sukkot, and it is a day of “atzeret,” of gathering. But what is that supposed to mean?…