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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Middot

“Walk with Me and become perfect” – Being Perfect or Becoming Perfect?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 15, 2010

Avraham bursts onto the scene in the opening of Parshat Lekh Lekha.  He follows God’s command, goes to the Land of Canaan, and everywhere is calling out in the name of God, and bringing monotheism to the world. Late in the parsha, God appears to Avraham and commands him in the brit milah. …

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).…

The Interdependence of Actions

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on January 23, 2010

In this week’s portion, the Torah begins to present commandments given to the Jewish people. One wonders why so many commandments are proscribed in such detail. The Sefer Ha-Hinukh (13th century) offers a comment that reveals a basic message about the purpose of commandments.…

God’s Hand and Our Responsibility

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 18, 2009

The story of Yosef and his brothers continues in Mikeitz when Yosef is taken from the dungeon and raised to be the viceroy of Egypt. It is then that his dreams begin to become reality, as his brothers come to Egypt and bow down to Yosef, eventually bringing their youngest brother, Binyamin, with them.…

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.”…

Yitzchak: The Father of Continuity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 20, 2009

Yitzchak’s story is one of the major themes of parshat Toldot. Until now, the stories involving Yitzchak have really been stories of other people – Avraham offering up Yitzchak at the akeida, and Avraham’s servant finding a wife for Yitzchak. Now, finally, it is Yitzchak’s turn to write his own story, to have his own narrative.…

A Silent Rosh Hashanah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 14, 2009

Occasionally, the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat. And so, after a month of blowing shofar in anticipation of this great day, we celebrate the first day of Rosh Hashanah in silence. For most of us, this is greatly distressing – the very character of the day and our experience of its profundity are created through the blowing of the shofar, and we must sacrifice this for what seems like a minor concern – lest a person might forget and carry the shofar in the public domain.…

Standing for Truth while Pursuing Peace

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 1998

The parsha of Matot-Masay concludes the story of the Moab-Midian attack against the Israelites. In the parsha of Balak we read that the Moabite women enticed the Israelite men to engage in illicit sex and to worship the pagan god Ba’al.…

Slander and its Consequences

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 10, 1998

The parsha of Metzora details laws of impurity, a state that would prevent a person from entering the Temple and, in some cases, from entering the Israelite camp. Tzara’at, often mistranslated as “leprosy,” was a supernatural spotting that could appear on a person’s house, clothes, or body.…

Holiness, Self-Restraint, and Personal Growth

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 28, 1998

Parshat Shmini opens with the culmination of the process of inducting Aaron and his sons into the priesthood. For seven days they had offered the same sacrifices and repeated the same ritual. Now, on the eighth day, a special ceremony was performed to inaugurate the sanctuary and their role in it as priests.…

Mitzvot, Monotony, and Meaning

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 21, 1998

Parshat Tzav continues with a discussion of the sacrifices to be brought in the Sanctuary, this time from the perspective of the priests that do the service. It concludes with a seven-day induction of Aaron and his sons into the priestly order.…

A Mitzvah of Belief?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 2, 1998

In parshat Yitro, we reach the climax of the Exodus story. It has been just seven short weeks since God demonstrated His might to the Egyptians and Israelites, and now the Children of Israel arrive at Mount Sinai to directly encounter God, receive His commandments, and become a people, His people.…