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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: God, Faith, Religiosity & Prayer

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.…

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.”…

section of ancient amidah text in faded ink in hebrew on parchent or scroll

Our God, or God of Our Forefathers?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 14, 2021

The Amidah prayer opens with a blessing about the forefathers. It begins like this: “Blessed are you God, Our God, God of our forefathers,” and it then continues to name those forefathers explicitly: “God of Avraham, God of Yitzchak, God of Yaakov.”…

painting featuring a giraffe, tiger, and elephant with trees and blue sky in the background. cheerful painting. angel hovers over the giraffe at the back of the line of the three animals.

What Will You Create?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 30, 2021

The Torah opens with God creating the world during the Six Days of Creation. Then follows Shabbat: va’yakhulu haShamayim, “And the Heavens and Earth, and all their hosts were completed.” Every Friday night, we open kiddush by reciting this verse and the verses that follow.…

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?…

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.…

God Is King. What Does That Mean for Us?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2021

What is the meaning of Rosh HaShanah as a day of kingship? The idea of kingship is central to Rosh HaShanah. In the third blessing of Shmoneh Eisrei, starting with Rosh HaShanah and moving all the way through Yom Kippur, we say that God is not HaEl HaKadosh, “Holy God,” but rather HaMelech HaKadosh, or “Holy King.”…

a headshot of rabbi linzer smiling with a library in the background

Rosh HaShanah 5782 Greetings: A Letter from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2021

Dear Friends, Lately, I find myself thinking about breath.  We breathe–and punctuate those breaths–in order to make the distinct sounds of the shofar when we blow it on Rosh HaShanah. As Rosh HaShanah marks the first day of God’s Creation of the World, I also think about the Divine breath that “hovered over the water,” before the Divine speech brought light into the world.…

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.…

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.…