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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Halakha & Modernity

Circumcision and Korban Pesach

by Rabbi Ysoscher Katz
Posted on July 5, 2016

To read this Hebrew article, click here.…

Women and The Reading of the Megillah

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on 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.…

Labels Are for Grocery Items, Not People

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 14, 2016

Parashat Metzorah continues to detail the laws of tumah, impurity, that can occur to people and that would require them to maintain their distance from the Mishkan. The parasha opens with the case of the metzorah, the person afflicted with the skin disease of tzara’at, and how he is to become pure: “This shall be the law of the metzorah, the skin-diseased person, on the day of his becoming pure” (Vayikra 14:2).…

Women and Kriyat HaTorah

The Kedusha of Kohanim and Torah in the Bathroom

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 6, 2015

Parashat Emor opens with the prohibition against a Kohen coming into contact with a corpse, which would make him impure due to his special kedusha, his priestly sanctity. Such impurity would compromise his kedusha and keep him out of the Temple.…

A Torat Emet and a Torat Chaim

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 5, 2014

Ki Teitze is a parasha densely packed with mitzvot. Of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what their parameters are or how they are to be implemented. Should determining this be done only through technical and formal rules, or do values and underlying principles play a role?…

Inclusion Doesn’t Happen by Accident

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 7, 2014

The lighting of the menorah opens our parasha: “Command the Children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn tamid, constantly.” (Shemot 27:20) The placement of these verses is curious, as the more appropriate place would have been in last week’s parasha, together with the making of the menorah.…

The Obligations of Tzedek

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 24, 2012

(An earlier version of this appeared in the 5769 AJWS Chag v’Chesed) The holiday of Shavuot is generally assumed to commemorate the giving of the Torah, which occurred on the sixth of Sivan. In the Torah, however, Shavuot is only described as an agricultural holiday and occurs not on any particular calendrical date, but at the culmination of seven weeks from the beginning of the harvest season that occurs on the second day of Pesach.…

Is Christianity Avoda Zara to Christians?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 16, 2011

As both Chanukkah and Christmas draw near, it is appropriate to discuss of the evolution of halakha’s approach to Christianity. Tosafot in Bekhorot, 2b, had said that one does not transgress by having a Christian take an oath in the name of God and a saint.…

Torah from our Beit Midrash

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 2, 2011

  While a little postponed, I would like to finish up the discussion from two weeks ago on the topic of attitudes towards Christianity, which arose in the daf yomi at the beginning of Bekhorot.  The Talmud (Bekhorot 2b) had stated that a person could not enter into a partnership with a non-Jew, lest the non-Jew have to take an oath, and he would then do so in the name of his god. …

Mesechet Berachot: Speaking of Christianity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 18, 2011

On the very first page (2b) of Mesechet Berachot, the Gemara discusses, on a bit of a tangent, the statement of the father of Shmuel that it is forbidden to go into partnership with a  non-Jew, lest non-Jew will be required to take an oath to verify his claim in a dispute, and this oath will be taken in the name of a foreign god. …

Mesechet Chullin: Our Limited Role as Creators

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 4, 2011

Towards the end of Mesechet Chullin, the Gemara – in the middle of a discussion about the impurity of animals, and the different components of their bodies – turned to a fascinating conversation about the diversity of the animals of creation, and the phenomenon of animals that are the product of cross-breeding (Chullin 127a): וכשהיה ר”ע מגיע לפסוק זה אומר (תהלים קד, כד) מה רבו מעשיך ה’ יש לך בריות גדלות בים ויש לך בריות גדלות ביבשה שבים אילמלי עולות ביבשה מיד מתות שביבשה אילמלי יורדות לים מיד מתות יש לך בריות גדלות באור ויש לך בריות גדלות באויר שבאור אילמלי עולות לאויר מיד מתות שבאויר אילמלי יורדות לאור מיד מתות מה רבו מעשיך ה’… אמר רב הונא בר תורתא פעם אחת הלכתי לוועד וראיתי נחש שהוא כרוך על הצב לימים יצא ערוד מביניהם וכשבאתי לפני ר’ שמעון החסיד אמר לי אמר הקב”ה הם הביאו בריה שלא בראתי בעולמי אף אני אביא עליהם בריה שלא בראתי בעולמי When R.…