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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: God, Faith, Religiosity & Prayer

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. …

Selfish Kedusha and Selfless Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 2, 2011

After the organizing of the camp  with the mishkan at its center – the focus on parshat Bamidbar, this parsha focuses on what it means to be outside the mishkan, to be in the camp, and to continue to orient oneself to God’s presence.…

Behar – A Society Based on Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 15, 2011

How can kedusha be created outside of the Temple?  This is, in many ways, the concern of the second half of the book of Vayikra, and is in particular the concern of parshat Behar.   The goal of the Mikdash was not for God to “dwell” in the Temple, but for God to dwell among us: v’asu li mikdash, vi’shakhanti bi’tokham, “You shall make for me a Temple and I will dwell in their – the people’s – midst.”…

The Universality of the Mitzvah of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 29, 2011

The portion of Kedoshim opens with an all-embracing imperative: “Holy shall you be, for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev. 19:2). The command to be holy is all-embracing in two senses: it applies to all people and it applies in all situations.…

Sanctity of Space and Sanctity of Time

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 28, 2011

There is barely a pause which separates the theophany of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, in parshat Yitro, to the myriad of laws and the nuts-and-bolts mitzvot of parshat Mishpatim. How are we to understand this sudden transition? Where is the kedusha, the holiness, the human-divine encounter, that follows Sinai, that can be considered a continuation of the Revelation?…

Faith in God and Personal Responsibility

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 10, 2010

We saw previously that Yehudah and Reuven, while both taking initiative to deal with crisis situations, exhibited very different leadership styles. While Reuven was rash and impetuous, Yehudah thought things through carefully, and when he took on a responsibility, his word was his bond, and he would see the situation through to its resolution.…

How to Encounter God? Build a House.

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 19, 2010

Parshat Terumah begins the second half of the book of Shemot, and from here on in the book of Shemot has one focus: the building of the mishkan:“And they shall make me a Sanctuary and I shall dwell in their midst” (Exodus 25:8).…

Understanding Kedusha Through Hilkhot Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 18, 2009

When studying Chanukah, we often study the classic sugyot from Mesekhet Shabbat (21b-23a). However, a more obscure sugya – “The violators (pritzim) came and profaned it” in Avoda Zara, 52B – provides important insights as well. Based on this verse from Ezekiel 7:22, the Gemara states that when the Beit HaMikdash was violated in the time of the Hasmoneans, the altar lost its sanctity and, when the Hasmoneans were victorious, they needed to dismantle and bury the now desacralized altar.…

Yaakov, Striving and the Miracle of Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 11, 2009

In parshat Veyeishev, Yaakov, having finally endured the hardship and travails in the house of Lavan, and having finally returned to his homeland, the land of Canaan, and having reconciled with his brother Esav who (implicitly) agreed to relinquish his claim to the land, is now able to finally settle in the land of his fathers and to put all his troubles behind him: “And Yaakov settled in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.”…

“And he believed in God” – Faith in God or Faith in Miracles?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 30, 2009

We are told that Avraham was given 10 tests and withstood all of them. There is no doubt that in Lekh Lekha Avraham has many trials, but it is somewhat of a question of whether he withstood them all or not.…