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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Prayer & Religiosity

the roofs of various sukkahs against a building in the sun

Who Cares for Those Who Care for Others?

For seven days on Sukkot, we are commanded to leave our homes and make the sukkah our fixed place of residence. All the activities one would normally do in their home–eating, sleeping, relaxing–are to be done in the sukkah. By participating in this holiday, we recreate the Jewish people’s experience of living in the desert after leaving Egypt.…

Crying on Rosh Hashanah Copy

Though rarely spoken about, one of the more fascinating themes of Rosh Hashanah is that of tears. The haftarah of the first day recounts the story of Elkanah and his wives Chana and Penina. Each year, they make the trek to Shilo to bring offerings to God, and each year Chana is mocked by Penina for not having children.…

Crying on Rosh Hashanah Copy

Though rarely spoken about, one of the more fascinating themes of Rosh Hashanah is that of tears. The haftarah of the first day recounts the story of Elkanah and his wives Chana and Penina. Each year, they make the trek to Shilo to bring offerings to God, and each year Chana is mocked by Penina for not having children.…

Men and Women Standing at Sinai

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 10, 2021

One of the last mitzvot in the Torah is that of Hakhel, the “gathering together.” On Sukkot following the Shemitah year–the year in which we find ourselves right now–the people would all come together so that, standing as one, they would be fully present as individuals and as a complete community to hear the Torah being read.…

Crying on Rosh Hashanah

Though rarely spoken about, one of the more fascinating themes of Rosh Hashanah is that of tears. The haftarah of the first day recounts the story of Elkanah and his wives Chana and Penina. Each year, they make the trek to Shilo to bring offerings to God, and each year Chana is mocked by Penina for not having children.…

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.…

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.…

Living with God in Our Midst

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 13, 2021

What does it mean to live with God in our midst? God commanded the Israelites in the wilderness to build the Tabernacle, “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell amongst them” (Exodus 25:8). Interestingly, the verse does not state that God shall dwell within “it,” the Tabernacle, but rather “amongst them,” the people.…

What Do You Stand For?

Rabbi Ovadya Hedaya (1889-1969) was a rabbinic judge and kabbalist, the Sefardic rabbi of Petah Tiqua, and the recipient of the Israel Prize for Rabbinic Literature (1968). Rabbi Hedaya was born in Halab, Syria, and moved to Jerusalem at the age of nine.…

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.…

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.…

What Do We Mean By Faith?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 29, 2021

After the dramatic scene of the Egyptians being drowned in the Yam Suf, the Torah tells us, “Bnei Yisrael saw what the mighty hand that God had done in Egypt, וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּה’ וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ – and they believed in God and in Moshe, his servant.”…