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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

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.…

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).…

A Trip to England

by Hirsch Posted on February 10, 2012

This article by Simon Rocker was originally published in the Jewish Chronicle. It is not uncommon for yeshivah heads to come here in search of potential students. But Rabbi Dov Linzer, who will be speaking at several United Synagogues over the weekend on his first trip to the UK, is different.…

I’ve Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 13, 2012

The beginning of the book of Shemot sees the Children of Israel enslaved, oppressed, and at the risk of decimation.  The foundation for their salvation is laid in the birth of Moshe, his being saved by Pharaoh’s daughter, and his venturing out to see the affliction of his brothers.   …

Torah as a Way to Know God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 1, 2012

How exactly can a finite human being, rooted in her physicality, connect to an infinite, non-physical God?  This question is one that the Torah grapples with throughout the second half of the book of Shemot.  God commands for the building of a physical Mishkan to house the Glory of God enveloped in the cloud. …

Yosef the Tzaddik, Religious Arrogance and the Miracle of Chanukkah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 23, 2011

Yosef is known throughout Rabbinic literature as “Yosef the Tzaddik.”  This phrase alludes to the verse in Amos (2:6), “their selling the Tzaddik for silver”, which is understood to be referring to brother’s selling Yosef for the 30 pieces of silver. …

To See and to Acknowledge

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 16, 2011

Yosef’s brothers, not content with the treachery of throwing him in the pit and then selling him to the Ishmaelites, proceed to engage in a cover-up.   Using the very cloak that was the target of their jealousy, they dip it in the blood of a kid goat, and send it to their father:  “And they said, ‘This we found. …

Mesechet Berachot: Speaking of Christianity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 18, 2011

On the very first page (2b) of Mesechet Berachot, the Gemara discusses, on a bit of a tangent, the statement of the father of Shmuel that it is forbidden to go into partnership with a  non-Jew, lest non-Jew will be required to take an oath to verify his claim in a dispute, and this oath will be taken in the name of a foreign god. …

“Let’s Not Forget Mamre”

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 11, 2011

In a parasha that contains the stories of the birth and binding of Yitzchak, and the overturning  of Sodom, I wish to write about a seemingly trivial point. The pasuk states (Breishit 18:1): וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א  And the LORD appeared unto him in the palace of Mamre Mamre, I believe, is the unsung hero in Vayeira. …

Mesechet Chullin: Great Gift Giving

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 11, 2011

The end of Chullin deals with many aspects of the non-sanctified gifts to the kohanim – certain cuts of meat from slaughtered animals, and the first shearing of sheep.   A major theme that the meaning and valance of a gift is shaped by the manner in which it is given and which it is received. …

Chosenness with a Universalist Impulse, Universalism with a Focus on Family

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on November 4, 2011

After two failed attempts at directing humanity to a life of holiness and goodness, God, in Lekh Lekha, begins the grand experiment that will be the narrative of the entire Torah and the story of the People of Israel.   With the generations of Adam, God stepped back to see if human beings, having chosen to “know good and evil,” to think and choose for themselves, could choose for themselves a life of holiness. …

The Price of Freeing Captives

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on October 28, 2011

The following piece was written shortly after the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011.   Many people found themselves asking whether Gilad’s release was worth the cost of freeing of over one thousand terrorists.  Many newspaper articles and opinion pieces were written on this topic as well, with the large majority of them coming down in favor of this decision.  …