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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

rainstorm through a window

Sukkot and the Lulav’s Lessons for Today: Sukkot Greetings from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 7, 2022

Sukkot is a holiday about homes–both the permanent and temporary sort–and homelessness. It commemorates how we wandered in the desert with no protection from the elements and no fixed place we could call home, and how God gave us immediate, temporary relief from the former through the Clouds of Glory and ultimate relief from the latter by bringing us into the land of Israel. …

The Role of Yirat Shamayim in Our Lives

by Rabbi Yehuda Gilad
Posted on September 29, 2022

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.…

Nation As Family in the Torah

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on September 21, 2022

Insights Into Shivat Tziyon: The Return to Zion From Antiquity till Today

by Dr. Tova Ganzel
Posted on September 21, 2022

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.…

What does memory have to do with belief in God?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 21, 2022

For some people, belief comes easily. From a young age they have believed in God, and that has remained a constant throughout their lives. For others, not so much. There are those who have always struggled with belief. There are those who believed in God in the past, but now find that they have serious doubts and questions and that belief eludes them. …

Fire in the Bronx and the Pillar of Fire

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 14, 2022

I had the privilege the other night to be at a vigil in the Bronx held opposite the building where the recent terrible tragedy occurred, the raging fire that claimed the lives of 19 souls, many of whom were children. What was remarkable that evening was how many of the speakers referenced God: “God is with us,” “God loves us,” “God loves the children.”…

Shemitah and Sefer Bereishit

by Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz
Posted on December 9, 2021

ancient well ruins in a desert underneath blue sky with a few puffy white clouds

In Praise of Yitzchak

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 4, 2021

Who was Yitzchak? What was his life about, and what was the lasting legacy that he left for future generations? The first verse of Parshat Toldot contains the answer: “These are the generations of Yitzchak, the son of Avraham: Avraham fathered Yitzchak” (Gen.…

abraham's servant approaching rebecca at the well in a renaissance-era painting

Was Rivka a Feminist?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 28, 2021

That question is, of course, anachronistic. A close reading of this week’s parsha and later parashot, however, reveals that Rivka’s marriage to Yitzchak—as well as Rachel and Leah’s marriages to Yaakov, and most likely Sarah’s marriage to Avraham—brought into the Jewish family a woman’s voice and role that might otherwise have been absent.…