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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Non-Jews & Other Religions

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.…

Engagement, Not Estrangement

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 22, 2021

What does it mean to live a holy life? Kedoshim opens with the words “קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י – You shall become holy because I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). The idea of holiness could–and has–been interpreted to mean that one should separate herself from this world, just as God is elevated above and fully separate from this world.…

cow in field , cow with flowers

Preserving the Cistern: Seeing the Earth as a Resource for All

Rabbi Shemuel ben Moshe de Medina (1505-1589) was Rosh HaYeshiva of the Thessaloniki yeshiva which produced some of the most important scholars and halakhic decisors of the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, he also served as the Av Beit Din, and in this role he was known for his humility and scholarship.…

Hand catching rain

What Does Tein Tal u’Matar Have to Do with Julius Caesar and the Secular Date?

In the Time of Coronavirus

This Saturday night, December 5th, we will begin to add “וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה,” the prayer for rain in its right time, into our weekday Shmoneh Esrei. The key halakhot that one must know regarding this are as follows: if one forgets to add this prayer in during בָּרֵךְ עָלֵֽינוּ, they may add it in later during שְׁמַע קוֹלֵֽנוּ.…

Yom Kippur: The Repentance of Ninveh and the Purpose of the Book of Jonah

by Dr. Yonatan Grossman
Posted on September 15, 2020

Scroll below the video to follow along with the source sheet.…

Abortion in Halakha: A Study Guide

Halakhic Parameters of Abortion: A Study Guide Guided Questions for Chavruta Learning Sources 1-7 were covered in the previous sheet.  Look at sources 8-12.  Do they indicate that a fetus has the legal status / protections of a human life or not? …

A Sojourner or a Resident?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 1, 2018

Ger vi’toshav anokhi imakhem, “A sojourner and a resident am I in your midst” (Gen. 23:4).  Avraham’s description of his status in the land of Canaan – as both someone living among the inhabitants of the land, and yet not fully one of them – powerfully captures the experience of immigrants in general, and that of Jews in America starting from the first wave of major immigration in 19th century, in particular. …

Praying with a Cross in the Room

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 18, 2018

A person is a patient at Holy Cross Hospital and there is a crucifix on the wall of each room.  Can she make brakhot and daven there? A family wishes to have a bar mitzvah in the large, all-purpose hall of Catholic university, where there is a small cross affixed at the top of the east-facing wall, 20 feet off the ground.…

For Real This Time, What’s the Story With Christmas Gifts?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 28, 2017

So what is the story with Christmas gifts and office Christmas parties? Last week we saw that the Talmud draws a number of red lines to ensure that our active involvement in the surrounding society does not lead us into religiously problematic areas.…

joseph-yosef-egypt

The Holiday Season – What’s A Frum Jew to Do?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 21, 2017

This time of year, during the “holiday season,” many Jews struggle with how to best negotiate our interaction with the society and culture around us. Can we give Christmas or year-end gifts to our paper carrier? Can we go to our company’s holiday party if it is going to be Christmas-themed?…

Whoring After Foreign Gods

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 26, 2016

Much of the book of Devarim is devoted to warning the people against being seduced by idolatry when they enter the land. It is often hard for us to appreciate why idolatry was such a temptation in the past. To better understand the attraction, we must look more closely at the metaphors and images the verses use in the exhortations against it.…

So, What’s the Story With… Christianity?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 26, 2016

Last week we explored how the Torah’s prohibitions against idolatry fall into two categories: 1) the belief in and worship of foreign gods and 2) the representation or worship of God through an image or any physical concretization. These recur throughout the book of Devarim in regular warnings against the seductions of idolatry, and we find them again in Parashat Eikev: The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.…