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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Mitzvot

Sharing the Light: Is Religious Maximalism a Good Thing?

In the Time of Coronavirus

Chanukkah celebrates religious maximalism. We increase the number of lights each night to show that we will not just make do with the bare minimum of one light per night. In doing this, we remember the miracle of the oil, where the Jews at the time sought out pure oil, although impure oil would have sufficed under the circumstances.…

Holy Imperfection

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Rabbis tell us that the mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah means that we are, for this week, to tzei midirat keva ve’sheiv bi’dirat aray –to leave our established, permanent abode and live in a temporary dwelling. In other years, I have understood the message to be that by living in a temporary dwelling we become aware that the normal stability and predictability of our lives – our established abode – is actually an illusion.…

Intention and Identity: Which Trees Produce a Kosher Lulav?

Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873-1960) is best known as the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. He was born and raised in Lithuania, where he studied at Slobodka and Telz, two of Europe’s most prominent yeshivot before the war. After making aliyah in 1892, he became a part of the rabbinic establishment of the old yishuv, while also building a close connection with Rav Kook, becoming part of his circle of intimates along with Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap, and the Nazir, Rabbi David Cohen.…

One for All and All for One? Individual and Communal Obligations of Shofar

Rav Mordechai Yehuda Leib Winkler (1845-1932, Hungary) was a student of the Ketav Sofer, the son of the Chatam Sofer and served as the Rabbi and Rosh HaYeshiva of Mád in Northern Hungary. His book of responsa, Levushe Mordechai, contains 1555 separate responsa addressed to 174 different locations (including 4 to the United States), testifying to his popularity and importance as a posek.…

Yom Kippur: The Repentance of Ninveh and the Purpose of the Book of Jonah

by Dr. Yonatan Grossman
Posted on September 15, 2020

Scroll below the video to follow along with the source sheet.…

man sheep lamb korban pesach

Korbanot in Sefer Bamidbar: Reimagining the Relationship with God and Yom Kippur

by Rabbi Zvi Grumet
Posted on September 15, 2020

Scroll below the video to follow along with the source sheet.  …

shofar

Teshuva and Yishuv Daat: The Transformative Possibilities of Elul

by Rabbi Dr. Erin Leib-Smokler
Posted on September 14, 2020

To follow along with the shiur’s source sheet on Sefaria, please click here.…

Moving from the Real to the Ideal

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Torah commands us in the laws of Shmita for the first time in Shemot 23:11: “And six years you shall sow thy land, and shall gather in the fruits thereof. But the seventh year you shall relinquish it; that the poor of your people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat.…

Mezuzot: Divine Protection or Human Perfection?

In the Time of Coronavirus

The mitzvah of mezuzah appears at the end of this week’s parasha in what we know of as the second paragraph of Shema: “And you shall write them (these words) on the doorposts of your house and of your gates.” (Deut.…

Does Torah Ever Take a Sleep Break?

Rav Menashe Klein zt”l, also known as the Ungvarer Rav, was a survivor of the Shoah and served as a communal leader and rosh yeshiva in Boro Park and in Jerusalem. The author of the 17-volume responsa Mishneh Halakhot, as well as many other books, he was renowned for his depth and breadth of knowledge.…

Was the Mishkan Wheelchair Accessible?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 21, 2020

In Parashat Bamidbar, the Torah tells us how to construct a community that has God and Torah at its center. God’s command, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” (Shemot 25:8), is now given true shape as the Children of Israel depart from Mount Sinai and begin to move as a community and settle as a camp.…

Matzah and Moderation

Rav Asher Weiss (b. 1953) grew up in Borough Park, Brooklyn and, is one of the most prolific, renowned and respected poskim of our time. His responsa stand out for their clarity of thinking and presentation, and for their creative approach to the challenging halakhic issues of our day. …