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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Halakha & Modernity

Retelling the Story of Corona

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 27, 2021

How do we talk about this last year-and-a-half that we have been living through? What is the story that we tell? This week’s parsha opens with the mitzvah of bikkurim, of the bringing of the first fruits to the Temple. This mitzah involves giving those first fruits to the kohen (priest) and saying thanks to God in the form of a declaration.…

Parenting and the Dangers of a Shared Voice

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 20, 2021

I want to say something that might sound a little shocking. When it comes to child-rearing and parenting, I believe that two parents should not speak in the same voice, at least not all the time, and at least not between themselves.…

The Sanctity of the Subway

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 13, 2021

The Torah scroll is one of our most sacred religious objects, and so it is reasonable to ask:  What is the best way for us to act so as to honor its sanctity? Intuitively, we should do our utmost to keep it separated and elevated from the grime and gore of our physical reality.…

Moving from the Real to the Ideal

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Torah commands us in the laws of Shmita for the first time in Shemot 23:11: “And six years you shall sow thy land, and shall gather in the fruits thereof. But the seventh year you shall relinquish it; that the poor of your people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat.…

Where Does True Religiosity Start?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 30, 2021

What behavior do we identify as religious: performing the ritual mitzvot, or the interpersonal ones? The answer, experientially and attitudinally, has been the former. Ritual mitzvot are distinctive. They set us apart from the rest of the world; they identify us as Jewish.…

Shabbat and Fair Trade Chocolate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 2021

The giving of the Ten Commandments was an earth-shattering, never-before-experienced event. God revealed Godself directly to the entire Israelite people. It was the most profound Divine-human encounter to have ever occurred, never again to be repeated in world history. But while the event itself was never repeated, the telling of that event most definitely was.…

The Connecting Gate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 16, 2021

The Book of Devarim–also known as Deuteronomy–presents us with a paradox. This book is completely Moses’s words: It is his valedictory speech to the Israelites and at the same time the divine word of God. How can both of these things be true? …

Tisha B’Av in the Time of Cholera

Rabbi Moshe Schick (1807-1879) was a major Hungarian halakhic authority during the second half of the 19th century. He was also a close pupil of the Chatam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer, Hungary, 1762-1839), with whom he studied in the Pressburg Yeshiva.…

Words Create Worlds

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 9, 2021

We all know that words can hurt and words can heal. This happens when our words are directed at others. But what about other contexts? The words we use may help us articulate our thoughts more or less clearly, or reflect our backgrounds or education.…

Can We Un-Stick Old Patterns?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 17, 2021

The transition into full adulthood, with its incumbent privileges and responsibilities, is often a long process. In recent years there has been increasing recognition of a stage of life between adolescence and adulthood; this stage has been called the “odyssey years.”…

Two Faces of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 10, 2021

The Torah emphasizes time and again that the Jewish people are holy. At their birth as a covenantal people at Mt. Sinai, God declares, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). In the beginning of Parshat Kedoshim, framing chapters dense with mitzvot, we read, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev.…

Where’s Our Mesirat Nefesh?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 3, 2021

As Modern Orthodox Jews, we espouse both serious Torah study and the pursuit of secular knowledge, all in the service of God. We have both feet firmly planted in the world of tradition and we are full members of broader American society.…