Today is April 18, 2021 / /

The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: God, Faith, Religiosity & Prayer

Active Religion

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 1, 2021

What would it mean to take an active role in our religious lives?  The splitting of the Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds) is the bookend to the story of the Exodus, just as the seventh day of Pesach is the bookend to the first day.…

Does God Play Dice with the Universe? Games of Chance and the Theology of Purim

Rabbi Yair Bacharach (1639-1702), one of the most important German halakhic decisions of the premodern era and author of the responsa, Chavot Yair, was a student of Rabbi Mendel Bass, (who was himself the student of Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, the Ba”Ch).…

Does God Play Dice with the Universe? Games of Chance and the Theology of Purim

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on February 25, 2021

Rabbi Yair Bacharach (1639-1702), one of the most important German halakhic decisions of the premodern era and author of the responsa, Chavot Yair, was a student of Rabbi Mendel Bass, (who was himself the student of Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, the Ba”Ch).…

If the Medium Is the Message, What’s the Message?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 11, 2021

When the Children of Israel stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they famously declared “נַעֲשֶׂ֥ה וְנִשְׁמָֽע – na’aseh ve’nishma – We will do and we will listen.” (Exodus 24:7). This phrase appears at the end of parshat Mishpatim, after all the laws that followed the Ten Commandments.…

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.”…

Speech in Exile

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 14, 2021

Moshe complains to God that since speaking to the Israelites things have only gotten worse. God tells Moshe to return to the people and tell them that God will redeem them from Egypt and take them to be God’s nation. The people, however, are deaf to this message due to their hard labor.…

vaccine-shot, needle

Should I Make a Brakha When Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Question: Do I make a brakha when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine shot or when it begins to be distributed in my city? If so, what brakha?   Answer: We should start by noting that the question you are asking is a halakhic one regarding the specific formulaic blessing of the Barukh atah nature.…

Hand catching rain

What Does Tein Tal u’Matar Have to Do with Julius Caesar and the Secular Date?

In the Time of Coronavirus

This Saturday night, December 5th, we will begin to add “וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה,” the prayer for rain in its right time, into our weekday Shmoneh Esrei. The key halakhot that one must know regarding this are as follows: if one forgets to add this prayer in during בָּרֵךְ עָלֵֽינוּ, they may add it in later during שְׁמַע קוֹלֵֽנוּ.…

Sukkah-in-the-dessert from Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Park

Catching Our (Collective) Breath

In the Time of Coronavirus

Sometimes we need to just stop and catch our breath. Esav moves with his 400 men towards Yaakov and his family, and Yaakov fears for all of their lives. Through a combination of stratagem and diplomacy, Yaakov emerges from the encounter safe and unharmed and is now prepared to continue to Canaan.…

Insiders and Outsiders

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 12, 2020

A major theme in this week’s parasha, Chayei Sarah, is the question of insiders and outsiders. How do we relate to the larger country around us? How do we relate to foreigners? This is quite relevant to the question of immigrants in a society – are their contributions to be feared or embraced?…

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”. …

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.…