Today is October 24, 2020 / /

The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

Yizkor

In the Time of Coronavirus

The two primary paragraphs of Yizkor — the titular “Yizkor” and the well-known “El Maleh Rachamim” — are contrasting devotions. El Maleh Rachamim requests repose. The key word is Menucha, or rest.  We ask that God grant our relative’s soul “fitting rest … a rest in the Garden of Eden … so that they rest in peace”. …

Holy Imperfection

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Rabbis tell us that the mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah means that we are, for this week, to tzei midirat keva ve’sheiv bi’dirat aray –to leave our established, permanent abode and live in a temporary dwelling. In other years, I have understood the message to be that by living in a temporary dwelling we become aware that the normal stability and predictability of our lives – our established abode – is actually an illusion.…

Intention and Identity: Which Trees Produce a Kosher Lulav?

Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873-1960) is best known as the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. He was born and raised in Lithuania, where he studied at Slobodka and Telz, two of Europe’s most prominent yeshivot before the war. After making aliyah in 1892, he became a part of the rabbinic establishment of the old yishuv, while also building a close connection with Rav Kook, becoming part of his circle of intimates along with Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap, and the Nazir, Rabbi David Cohen.…

A Plastic Hour

In the Time of Coronavirus

Yom Kippur is almost upon us. It is a day that is classically spent in personal introspection and reflection, acknowledging and feeling remorse for our sins and misdeeds, and committing to try to do differently in the future. In previous years, I have shared my thoughts that I believe that this heavy emphasis on looking back can often be unproductive and unhelpful.…

“To Bow and to Bend We Won’t be Ashamed…” Two Understandings of the Yom Kippur Prostrations

Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam (1905-1994) was the founding Rebbe of the Sanz-Klausenberg chassidic court. A Holocaust survivor, Rav Halberstam established various organizations dedicated to rebuilding Torah learning after the war. He spoke frequently about the importance of studyingTalmud and even stated that the essence of chassidus is to learn Gemara, something quite unusual for a Chassidic rebbe.…

One for All and All for One? Individual and Communal Obligations of Shofar

Rav Mordechai Yehuda Leib Winkler (1845-1932, Hungary) was a student of the Ketav Sofer, the son of the Chatam Sofer and served as the Rabbi and Rosh HaYeshiva of Mád in Northern Hungary. His book of responsa, Levushe Mordechai, contains 1555 separate responsa addressed to 174 different locations (including 4 to the United States), testifying to his popularity and importance as a posek.…

Hannah and the Vision of Kingship

by Rabbi David Silber
Posted on September 15, 2020

Free Will and Repentance in the Thought of Rav Zadok and Rav Hutner

by Rabbi Yitzchak Blau
Posted on September 15, 2020

A recording of this shiur is not available, but you can find the source sheet through this Sefaria link.…

“Mizmor L’David” as a Framework for Coping With Life’s Challenges

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on September 14, 2020

Scroll below the video to follow along with the source sheet.…

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.…

Mezuzot: Divine Protection or Human Perfection?

In the Time of Coronavirus

The mitzvah of mezuzah appears at the end of this week’s parasha in what we know of as the second paragraph of Shema: “And you shall write them (these words) on the doorposts of your house and of your gates.” (Deut.…

Go Easy on the Kids? Children and Tisha B’Av

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt”l (1895-1986) was the preeminent posek for North American Jewry for most of the 20th century, both for the yeshivish and Modern Orthodox communities. Rav Moshe was born in Russia in 1895, where he served as rabbi making great personal sacrifices on behalf of his community until he emigrated to the U.S.…