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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

Family First

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 29, 2021

Does the Torah advocate or permit a person to sacrifice obligations to the family if he or she devotes himself or herself to serving God? This question comes up in the context of the giving of the Torah, which we are about to celebrate on Shavuot.…

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.…

Sending the Sick Outside the Camp

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 15, 2021

Who are our modern-day metzoraim, the people who are pushed outside of normal society and keep distant and hidden from everyone else?  The metzora is not a leper, but he is much like one. He has a serious skin disease and is sent outside of the Israelite camp, in an area that would eventually become outside of the city walls of the Land of Israel.…

Religious Life and/or Halakha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 8, 2021

What is the place of religious passion in the life that is dedicated to halakha? After eight days of sanctifying and inaugurating the Mishkan, a fire comes out from heaven and consumes the final sacrifices of the inauguration. The people are so overwhelmed by religious feeling that they bow down and prostrate themselves.…

Passover 5781: What Story Are We Telling?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 24, 2021

Dear Friends, I want us to ask ourselves a simple question: What is the story that we will be telling? The central mitzvah of Pesach night is maggid, to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. In many of our homes on Seder night, we will have spirited discussions and debates as we attempt to be doresh – to engage in the story, to bring our personal lens to it, exploring its meaning and relevance to us today.…

Let Them Eat…? When the Day before Pesach Is Shabbat

Rabbi Shalom Messas (1909-2003), an influential Sefardi posek, served as both the Chief Rabbi of Morocco and Jerusalem. He succeeded his longtime teacher Rabbi Yehoshua Berdugo as Chief Rabbi of Morocco in 1945 at the relatively young age of thirty six, and in 1978, he was invited by Israeli Chief Rabbi, Rav Ovadiah Yosef to become the Chief Sefardic Rabbi of Jerusalem.…

Worshipping God with the Physical

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 4, 2021

What was the sin of the golden calf and why does it matter to us today?  The commentators are divided as to the nature of the sin. For some, the golden calf was the worship of a new god, a rejection of the God who redeemed them from Egypt.…

Are Our Days Numbered? Is the Omer a Dangerous Time?

Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapira (1868-1937) was the head of the rabbinical court of Mukachevo in western Ukraine and the third Rebbe of the Munkacs Chassidic dynasty. His father, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Shapira, the second Munkacser Rebbe, was the author of the Darkhe Teshuva, an important halakhic work, and his great-great grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov, was the author of the classic Chasidic work Benei Yissaschar.…

Guide for an Afternoon Purim Seudah Going into Shabbat Dinner (pores mapah u’mikadesh)

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Why is the Temple Not a Golden Calf?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 18, 2021

What’s the difference between the making of the egel ha’zahav (golden calf) and the building of the mishkan (the Tabernacle)?  When it comes to the building of the Temple, our Rabbis teach that God is not primarily to be found on the mountaintop, where Avraham encountered God.…

If the Medium Is the Message, What’s the Message?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 11, 2021

When the Children of Israel stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they famously declared “נַעֲשֶׂ֥ה וְנִשְׁמָֽע – na’aseh ve’nishma – We will do and we will listen.” (Exodus 24:7). This phrase appears at the end of parshat Mishpatim, after all the laws that followed the Ten Commandments.…

The Discernment of Outsiders

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 4, 2021

Can someone from the outside see better than those on the inside? The word that introduces and is the catalyst for Yitro’s advice to Moshe is va’yar, to see -. “וַיַּרְא חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה – Moshe’s father-in-law saw.” (Exodus 18:14) This seeing is not merely observing.…