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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: God, Faith, Religiosity & Prayer

Passionate Judaism or Rational Judaism?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 30, 2015

Do we want a religion of fire or ice, of passionate religious fervor or sober, detached rationality? In many ways, Modern Orthodoxy has chosen the latter. This goes beyond an emphasis on the intellectual, on prizing Talmudic scholarship and broad academic achievement.…

Wanted: Partners, Not Followers

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 21, 2015

Avraham and Noach stand in stark contrast to one another. Noach was a follower. He did what he was told, exactly what he was told, no more and no less. He was told to build an ark, “and Noach did all that God had commanded him” (Bereishit, 6:22).…

More Kingship, Less Judgment

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 10, 2015

Rosh Hashanah is a Yom HaDin, a Day of Judgment. We will stand before God, and God will take measure of our deeds of the past year. This characterization of the day opens and frames the Zikhronot of Musaf: “Atah zokher ma’aseh olam, u’foked kol yitzurei kedem,” “You, God, remember the deeds of everyone in the world, and recall all those from previous times … and regarding the countries it will be said which is for sword and which is for peace, which is for hunger and which for abundance, and all creatures are recalled, to be remembered for life or for death.” …

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.…