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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Mikdash, Korbanot and Kohanim

Sacrifices? What Sense Does that Make?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 17, 2016

The second half of the book of Shemot focused on creating the Mishkan as a Sanctuary in which God Godself could dwell among the Children of Israel. In contrast, the book of Vayikra focuses on what is done in that Sanctuary: first and foremost, the bringing of sacrifices. …

Do Clothes Make the Man?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 17, 2016

After completing the detailed description of the Mishkan and its furnishings in Terumah, the Torah turns to the priestly garments to be worn by Aharon and his sons in Tetzaveh. The two parshiyot open in very similar ways. In commanding the building of the Mishkan, the Torah also states the purpose it is meant to achieve: “And you shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell in your midst” (Shemot, 25:8).…

From Promise to Practice

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 11, 2016

During the events of the Giving of the Torah, the Children of Israel have been pretty passive. When asked for their assent to the Torah before and after it was given they responded, “We will do.” and they participated in a ceremony marking their covenant with God.…

The Kedusha of Kohanim and Torah in the Bathroom

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 6, 2015

Parashat Emor opens with the prohibition against a Kohen coming into contact with a corpse, which would make him impure due to his special kedusha, his priestly sanctity. Such impurity would compromise his kedusha and keep him out of the Temple.…

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.…

Cleaning the Temple, Cleaning our World

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 6, 2011

This is an emended piece that I wrote on Yom Kippur and the Temple Service which was originally published in the Jerusalem Post Magazine, on Sept 28, 2008. “For on this day he shall atone for you to purify you; that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”…

The Sanctity of Space

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 4, 2011

This week’s parsha – Terumah – and the many parshiyot that follow focus on creating a Mishkan, a Sanctuary, a sanctified space, a dwelling place for God. The idea that a space can not only be sanctified, but even contain – as it were – the Divine presence, is beyond our ability to comprehend.…

The Problem with Perfection

by Rabbanit Devorah Zlochower
Posted on April 30, 2010

When my son Netanel was a preschooler, he informed me that he was a member of a persecuted minority: he is left-handed. Discrimination is rampant, according to Netanel. In addition to the obvious—scissors, golf clubs, spiral notebooks—Netanel noticed something that had escaped his left-handed mother, his left-handed father, and his left-handed older brother.…

What Is Most Dear to Us that We Bring to God?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 19, 2010

Parshat Vayikra introduces us into the world of korbanot. The institution of sacrifices is a very difficult concept for many today. How do we understand why God would want or need sacrifices? And even if they are for us, as a way to connect to God, the acts involved in bringing sacrifices – slaughtering, sprinkling the blood, burning of the fats – seem much too bloody, gory, and smelly to constitute an elevated religious experience.…

Korban Pesach Nowadays

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 5, 2010

Parshat Parah, a special maftir read before pesach, is read to remind us of the period of purification that preceded the bringing of the korban Pesach on the 14th of Nissan. While for most of us, this is a reminder of a thousands-year-old practice that became obsolete with the destruction of the Temple, this is not true for all.…

‘To Her he Shall Become Impure’ – Serving God by Leaving the Temple

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 1, 1998

The parsha of Emor centers on the sanctity of the Kohanim: their obligation not to become impure, restrictions on whom they can marry, and the conditions under which they can serve in the Temple and eat its sacrifices. The end of the parsha enumerates all the festivals of the year and the special sacrifices brought on each.…

The Yom Kippur Service and The Avoda of Teshuva

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 17, 1998

Parshat Acharay-Mot details the Temple service that the high priest would perform every Yom Kippur. Today, the description of the Temple service forms the center of the communal Yom Kippur Musaf prayer, and the Torah reading on Yom Kippur is taken from the parsha of Acharay-Mot.…