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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

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.…

Two Types of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 29, 2015

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim represents the transition from the first half of Vayikra to the second. The first half is focused solely on the Temple, its holiness and the sacrifices conducted therein. Tazria-Metzorah, the previous double parasha, continued this theme, detailing the various ritual impurities, the tumot, that would require a person to be sent out of the camp and prevent his or her access to the Temple.…

A Tzara’at Survivor

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 22, 2015

The double parasha Tazria-Metzorah details the laws of tumah, any impurity that would require people to maintain their distance from the Mishkan. The primary focus is on the metzorah, a person afflicted with the skin disease tzara’at, and how he is to become pure. …

Torah Shiurim in Memory of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein

by Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot Posted on April 21, 2015

There is no more fitting way to commemorate the memory of HaGaon Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, zt”l, through the learning of Torah. In honor of Rav Lichtenstein’s 80th birthday, we presented a series of shiurim on the Thought of Rav Lichtenstein as part of our annual Yemei Iyun in Tanakh and Jewish Thought.…

The Danger of Unbridled Religious Passion

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 16, 2015

After many months of construction – and many parshiyot devoted to its narrative – the Mishkan is finally dedicated and made operational in Parashat Shmini. On the eighth and final day of the inauguration, Moshe introduces the final series of sacrifices to the Children of Israel with the declaration that, if they are properly brought, “the Glory of the Lord will appear ” (Vayikra, 9:6).…

Who are the Main Characters of the Hagaddah?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 1, 2015

The central mitzvah of the Seder night is sippur yitziyat Mitzrayim, telling the story of the exodus from Egypt. The simplest way to do this would be to open Shemot and read the narrative directly from the Torah. This experience would certainly be more engaging than reading the story in the Haggadah – there is greater detail in the Torah, the plot is more dramatic, and, as one of my students recently pointed out, there are the characters, the actors who make the story interesting.…

Women and an Ethos of Diversity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 10, 2013

Good Hodesh!  I hope you are all well and are getting ready for the upcoming Chag.  As we know, Shavuot, from the Rabbinic perspective, celebrates the day of the Giving of the Torah.  Interestingly, while the simple sense of the verses indicate that it was the men, and not the women, who were being addressed in the lead up to Matan Torah (“Prepare yourselves for the third day – do not draw close to a woman”), Hazal underscore that women were equal participants in standing at Har Sinai and receiving the Torah (“‘So you shall say to the house of Jacob, beit Yaakov‘ – these are the women.” – Mechilta of R.…

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.…

Our Ongoing Obligation to Speak the Words of Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 9, 2012

What appears below is my remarks from the Modern Orthodox Siyum haShas which took place t at Congregation Shearith Israel in Manhattan.  A focal point of this speech is the mitzvah of constantly speaking the words of Torah, which appears in the first paragraph of Shema which we read last week, as well as in the second paragraph of Shema which we read this week in parashat Ekev. …

A Dynamic Faith of Gratitude

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 18, 2012

Yom Yerushalayim and Shavuot are celebrated a week apart. These celebrations mark two tremendous gifts that have been bestowed upon us: the gift of a unified Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel and under Jewish control, that we received only 45 years ago, and the gift of the Torah, that we received over 3000 years ago.…

One Step at a Time

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 20, 2012

When we read Parashat Shemini, we are in the middle of the counting of the Omer–a process of seven weeks of seven days–until we finally arrive at Shavuot.  This counting marks the time – in Rabbinic thought – from the Exodus to the revelation of God and the receiving of Torah at Har Sinai.…

The Seder without the Korban Pesach

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 5, 2012

The seder is one of the most powerful religious experiences of the year, attracting a large percentage of unaffiliated and secular Jews: 70% of American Jews and 80% of secular Israeli Jews say they will attend a seder this year. Even for religious and observant Jews, the seder is a profound event, a night that, certainly as children but even for adults, we eagerly anticipate and whose memory we cherish.…