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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Shabbat & Yom Tov

Can I Compost My Etrog After Sukkot?

western wall

The Mitzvah of Hakhel Today

Every seven years, during the holiday of Sukkot following shemitah, the Torah states that the Jewish people are to hold a ceremony known as hakhel, perhaps best translated as gathering. The ceremony entails a public reading of several sections of the Torah from Devarim, with the goal that those present will “hear and learn to revere your God and observe faithfully every word of this teaching” (Devarim 31:12).…

etrogim at market

The Mitzvah of Lulav in Jerusalem Today

All three pilgrimage festivals were centered around the experience of being at the Temple during the holiday. Whereas each person was required to offer a sacrifice for the festival, on Sukkot other unique rituals also took place at the Temple over the seven days of the holiday.…

hanging lightbulbs

An Electric Light for Havdalah After Yom Kippur?

With the advent of electricity in the last century, halakha has faced many new questions unknown to our ancestors. Countless teshuvot and books have been written attempting to analyze the nature of electricity and how it should be conceptualized within halakhic categories.…

shofar sitting on a granite countertop

Speaking During Mussaf: To Correct or Not To Correct?

On each day of Rosh HaShanah the shofar is blown no fewer than one hundred times in synagogue. The first thirty blasts before the mussaf service are known as tekiot d’meyushav, while the last seventy blasts blown during and after mussaf are known as tekiot d’meumad.…

animation of the temple burning and the hebrew words for tisha b'av

Should Children Mourn the Loss of the Temple?

Anyone who has spent time at a Jewish summer camp has inevitably confronted questions regarding what children should or shouldn’t do in the weeks preceding Tisha B’Av and on Tisha B’Av itself. From the 17th of Tammuz, many Ashkenazim have the custom not to shave or conduct weddings, and beginning with Rosh Chodesh Av, there are additional customs such as refraining from bathing, laundering one’s clothes, and listening to live music.…

a page from a work of lurianic kabbalah

The Study of Kabbalah

The well-known custom of staying up all night on Shavuot to study Torah originated as a kabbalistic practice with roots in the Zohar. Every Shavuot, the Zohar explains, God marries the Jewish people once again, and the study of Torah beautifies the shechina (divine presence) before the marriage ceremony is to commence.…

chips aisle in a grocery store

Chametz She’Avar Alav HaPesach 

QUESTION  Westchester, NY  I have some חמץ שעבר עליו את הפסח. My school is doing a food drive this week. Can I donate my חמץ without concern for הנאה? The food drive is also a competition between classes. If I put it in one of the class boxes, would that be a problem?…

fully lit menorah leaning against jerusalem stone in the neighorhood of meah shaarim as the menorah illuminates the darkness around it

Publicizing the Miracle of Chanukkah to All

According to the Talmud (Shabbat 23b), we light candles on Chanukkah to publicize the miracle of the holiday (pirsumei nisa). This goal serves to determine where and when the candles should be lit so they can be seen by the maximum number of people.…

a school bus stopping on a road with its doors open while a line of small children with backpacks walk in a line to get onto the bus

Glimpsing the House of Tomorrow

by Nava
Posted on September 24, 2021

From the start of Elul through Shemini Atzeret, we recite Psalm 27. There we read, “One thing I ask of the Lord, only that I seek: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, to frequent God’s Temple” (Psalm 27:4).…

a very realistic oil painting featuring a beautifulb bright red tree in autumn. a grassy walkway sits to the left. on the left side of the tree (our left) we see a bright yellow sunset. on the right side, the sky is a purple-y blue and some branches are barren. the hay on the ground is golden and red- it's a majestic fall scene.

Shmini Atzeret: The Yom Tov of Follow-Through

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 23, 2021

Shmini Atzeret is a hard holiday to understand. It has its own identity and its own name. It is Shmini, the eighth day of Sukkot, and it is a day of “atzeret,” of gathering. But what is that supposed to mean?…

There’s No Place Like Home

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 17, 2021

Sukkot is a yom tov that focuses on the idea of home.  We dwell in a sukkah, which serves as a substitute home. We leave our house our permanent abode and reside for one week in the sukkah, a temporary abode.…