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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Mitzvot

Don’t Talk While You’re Eating?

Rabbi Avram Schwartz (Posted on April 15, 2019)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg (1915-2006) was a rav and dayyan in Jerusalem, a member of the Chief Rabbinical Court in Israel, and the informal halakhic authority of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The author of the 21-volume set of responsa, Tzitz Eliezer, he remains a widely respected posek, one of the leading voices of the previous generation.…

Mishloah Manot, Cultivating Friendship, and the Absence of a Brakha

Rabbi Avram Schwartz (Posted on March 18, 2019)
From the Lindenbaum Center for Halakhic Studies

Rabbi Yehiel Yaakov Weinberg (1884-1966) was the last rector of the Neo-Orthdox Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin. In his youth in Lithuania, he had been considered an illui, a young genius, and studied under Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel at Yeshivat Kenesset Yisrael Slobodka.…

Partnering With God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 24, 2019

How many commandments were given at Mt. Sinai?  The answer, surprisingly, is not 10.  The Torah speaks of the aseret ha’devarim, the Ten Utterances, not the Ten Commandments.  When one gets down to counting the commandments, she finds that the first of the utterances, “I am the Lord your God,” is not exactly a commandment, and that some, like “You shall have no other gods before me; you shall not bow down to them nor shall you worship them,” actually contain 3 commandments, if not more.…

Ramban on Reasons for the Commandments

by Rabbi Dr. David Shatz Posted on October 26, 2016

Making (Some) Sense of Amalek

by Miriam Gedwiser Posted on October 21, 2016

Should Torah be a Choice?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 7, 2016

Although voluntary buy-in is a more motivational incentive than extrinsic reward and certainly more than threat of punishment, there may still be good reason to insist that Jewish education and general keeping of mitzvot be mandatory and not a choice. Declaring something as mandatory emphasizes its importance, and, despite emotional objections, it can help ingrain habits (especially in children) so that any alternative would be unthinkable.…

What is a Halakhic Jewish Identity?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 6, 2016

Apart from the “Shema Yisra’el” with which we are so familiar, Parshat Va’etchanan has three other instances where we see similar instructions for Israel to listen. What do the Other Shema Yisraels have that our Shema doesn’t. Considering their emphasis, wouldn’t it be better to recite them twice daily rather than our Shema? …

Whose Religion is this?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 9, 2016

It is a truism among us that keeping the Halakha is synonymous with doing God’s will. However, our sources provide a strong argument that this is not always the case. Some sources (like the Grand Inquisitor) suggest that God’s will should trump rabbinic authority.…

Walking the Tightrope

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 4, 2016

Mishpatim has many, many laws. So many that one may be misled into believing that the entirety of one’s obligation as a Jew is halakha and mitzvah. However the end of the parasha makes it clear that all of these mitzvot occur in the context of a brit, a covenant: And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord … And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said na’aseh vi’nishma, will we do, and we will listen (Shemot, 24:4, 7).…

Remind Me: What Are We Supposed to be Remembering?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 21, 2016

The story of Amalek is recorded twice in the Torah: once in Beshalach, and again at the end of Parashat Ki Teitzei in Devarim. In Beshalach, we are instructed to write a record of what Amalek did to us, but we are not commanded to actively remember the events.…

How Covenant Frames Obligations

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 10, 2012

After crossing the Red Sea, seeing the drowning of the Egyptians, experiencing the first hardships of the desert, and receiving the quail and the manna from God, the Children of Israel have finally arrived at their first destination, Mt. Sinai. While the Land of Israel still awaits, their initial demand to leave Egypt was to worship God, and that worship takes place here, in the desert, at the foot of Har Sinai: “When you take this people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.” (Shemot 3:12).…

Mitzvot and their Interpretation: The Role of Values and Narrative

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 12, 2011

Ki Teitze is a parsha densely packed with mitzvot. A new mitzvah appears almost every few verses, and sometimes even more frequently. It is, in a way, the parshat Mishpatim or the parshat Kedoshim of Devarim. Now, of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what their parameters are or how they are to be implemented.…