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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: God, Faith, Religiosity & Prayer

Mixed Blessings?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 2, 2015

In the middle of the extended section on the calamities and curses that will befall the Israelites if they fail to observe the mitzvot, we find a curious set of verses: Because you served not the Lord your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shall you serve your enemies which the Lord shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things (Devarim, 28:47-48).…

Looking Back to Move Forward

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on July 15, 2015

After forty years of wandering through the wilderness, the Children of Israel arrive at the Plains of Moab. The Promised Land is so close they can almost taste it, and most of Parashat Masei is devoted to what awaits them on the other side of the Jordan.…

Selfish and Selfless Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 28, 2015

The book of Bamidbar begins with the organizing of the Israelite camp with the mishkan at its center. In Parashat Naso, the Torah now turns to what it means to be outside the mishkan, to be in the camp, and to continue to orient oneself to God’s presence.…

A Relationship Strained, Not Broken

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 13, 2015

We finish our reading of Vayikra with the “blessings and the curses”: the rewards for keeping the laws and commandments and the punishments for breaking them. This section, coming as it does at the end of Vayikra, is clearly intended as a coda to what preceded it.…

Two Types of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 29, 2015

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim represents the transition from the first half of Vayikra to the second. The first half is focused solely on the Temple, its holiness and the sacrifices conducted therein. Tazria-Metzorah, the previous double parasha, continued this theme, detailing the various ritual impurities, the tumot, that would require a person to be sent out of the camp and prevent his or her access to the Temple.…

The Danger of Unbridled Religious Passion

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 16, 2015

After many months of construction – and many parshiyot devoted to its narrative – the Mishkan is finally dedicated and made operational in Parashat Shmini. On the eighth and final day of the inauguration, Moshe introduces the final series of sacrifices to the Children of Israel with the declaration that, if they are properly brought, “the Glory of the Lord will appear ” (Vayikra, 9:6).…

Every Person Doing What is Right in His Eyes

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 17, 2012

As Moshe prepares the Children of Israel to enter into the Land, he exhorts them not just to live up to individual responsibilities, but to live up to their communal ones, first and foremost.  They are going to enter a new land, and they must turn it into a country.…

A Dynamic Faith of Gratitude

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 18, 2012

Yom Yerushalayim and Shavuot are celebrated a week apart. These celebrations mark two tremendous gifts that have been bestowed upon us: the gift of a unified Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel and under Jewish control, that we received only 45 years ago, and the gift of the Torah, that we received over 3000 years ago.…

One Step at a Time

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 20, 2012

When we read Parashat Shemini, we are in the middle of the counting of the Omer–a process of seven weeks of seven days–until we finally arrive at Shavuot.  This counting marks the time – in Rabbinic thought – from the Exodus to the revelation of God and the receiving of Torah at Har Sinai.…

Torah as a Way to Know God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 1, 2012

How exactly can a finite human being, rooted in her physicality, connect to an infinite, non-physical God?  This question is one that the Torah grapples with throughout the second half of the book of Shemot.  God commands for the building of a physical Mishkan to house the Glory of God enveloped in the cloud. …

Yosef the Tzaddik, Religious Arrogance and the Miracle of Chanukkah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 23, 2011

Yosef is known throughout Rabbinic literature as “Yosef the Tzaddik.”  This phrase alludes to the verse in Amos (2:6), “their selling the Tzaddik for silver”, which is understood to be referring to brother’s selling Yosef for the 30 pieces of silver. …

“Let’s Not Forget Mamre”

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 11, 2011

In a parasha that contains the stories of the birth and binding of Yitzchak, and the overturning  of Sodom, I wish to write about a seemingly trivial point. The pasuk states (Breishit 18:1): וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א  And the LORD appeared unto him in the palace of Mamre Mamre, I believe, is the unsung hero in Vayeira. …