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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

Looking Back to Move Forward

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 15, 2015

After forty years of wandering through the wilderness, the Children of Israel arrive at the Plains of Moab. The Promised Land is so close they can almost taste it, and most of Parashat Masei is devoted to what awaits them on the other side of the Jordan.…

Truth in the Way of Peace

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 8, 2015

Parashat Pinchas has much to say about zealotry and peace, and the messages certainly remain worthy of examination today. Consider the following situation: A religious zealot witnesses a person flagrantly violating religious standards of behavior and, acting in the name of God, picks up the nearest available weapon and violently slays the sinner. …

Believing is Seeing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 1, 2015

The Rabbis tell us in Pirkei Avot (5:22) “Whoever has….an ayin tova, a good eye….is a student of Avraham; whoever has an ayin ra’ah, a bad eye….is a student of Balaam.” Avraham sees well, whereas Balaam sees poorly. How so? On the face of it, the stories of Avraham and Balaam are parallel.…

Leadership for Self-Reliance

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 25, 2015

Transitions are hard. As the period of wandering in the desert begins to draw to a close, Bnei Yisrael encounter many changes and they anticipate many more. Their leaders begin to die: Miriam and Aharon both die in this week’s parasha, and Moshe will pass away a few months hence.…

Truth AND Peace

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 17, 2015

Parashat Korach is not just about rebels; it also affords us a look at different models of leadership. Both Moshe and Aharon are attacked. The latter remains markedly silent during the confrontation while Moshe defends both his position and his brother’s.…

A Leadership of Faith, Not Fear

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 11, 2015

Parashat Shelach is as much a story of leaders as of the people. It is a story of leaders both poor and good. The poor leaders-ten of the twelve spies-saw the challenges that confronted them in the land of Canaan and ran: “We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we” (Bamidbar, 13:31).…

Giving Torah Meaning

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 4, 2015

After the camps are arranged around the Mishkan in Parashiyot Bamidbar and Nasso, the camp moves forward, beginning its trek through the desert in Parashat Behaalotecha. At the onset of the journey, two verses are set off from the rest of the text: “va’yehi binsoa ha’aron,” “And it was when the Ark would journey…,” and “u’vinukho yomar,” “And when it rested, he said…” (Bamidbar, 10:35-36). These…

Selfish and Selfless Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 28, 2015

The book of Bamidbar begins with the organizing of the Israelite camp with the mishkan at its center. In Parashat Naso, the Torah now turns to what it means to be outside the mishkan, to be in the camp, and to continue to orient oneself to God’s presence.…

Setting Up to Move Out

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 21, 2015

Prepared for publication from remarks made at the 2015 YCT Annual Tribute Dinner in honor of Sharon and Steven Lieberman. Many people today would be happy to set up camp at the foot of Har Sinai permanently. Just think about what it was like: We had received all the mitzvot; the Mishkan was built; the sacrifices were being offered on a regular basis; and the camp’s boundaries had been delineated, and it was protected.…

A Relationship Strained, Not Broken

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 13, 2015

We finish our reading of Vayikra with the “blessings and the curses”: the rewards for keeping the laws and commandments and the punishments for breaking them. This section, coming as it does at the end of Vayikra, is clearly intended as a coda to what preceded it.…

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.…