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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

Men and Women Standing at Sinai

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 10, 2021

One of the last mitzvot in the Torah is that of Hakhel, the “gathering together.” On Sukkot following the Shemitah year–the year in which we find ourselves right now–the people would all come together so that, standing as one, they would be fully present as individuals and as a complete community to hear the Torah being read.…

God Is King. What Does That Mean for Us?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2021

What is the meaning of Rosh HaShanah as a day of kingship? The idea of kingship is central to Rosh HaShanah. In the third blessing of Shmoneh Eisrei, starting with Rosh HaShanah and moving all the way through Yom Kippur, we say that God is not HaEl HaKadosh, “Holy God,” but rather HaMelech HaKadosh, or “Holy King.”…

a headshot of rabbi linzer smiling with a library in the background

Rosh HaShanah 5782 Greetings: A Letter from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2021

Dear Friends, Lately, I find myself thinking about breath.  We breathe–and punctuate those breaths–in order to make the distinct sounds of the shofar when we blow it on Rosh HaShanah. As Rosh HaShanah marks the first day of God’s Creation of the World, I also think about the Divine breath that “hovered over the water,” before the Divine speech brought light into the world.…

Crying on Rosh Hashanah

Though rarely spoken about, one of the more fascinating themes of Rosh Hashanah is that of tears. The haftarah of the first day recounts the story of Elkanah and his wives Chana and Penina. Each year, they make the trek to Shilo to bring offerings to God, and each year Chana is mocked by Penina for not having children.…

Moving from the Real to the Ideal Copy

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.…

Where Does True Religiosity Start?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 30, 2021

What behavior do we identify as religious: performing the ritual mitzvot, or the interpersonal ones? The answer, experientially and attitudinally, has been the former. Ritual mitzvot are distinctive. They set us apart from the rest of the world; they identify us as Jewish.…

Shabbat and Fair Trade Chocolate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 2021

The giving of the Ten Commandments was an earth-shattering, never-before-experienced event. God revealed Godself directly to the entire Israelite people. It was the most profound Divine-human encounter to have ever occurred, never again to be repeated in world history. But while the event itself was never repeated, the telling of that event most definitely was.…

The Connecting Gate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 16, 2021

The Book of Devarim–also known as Deuteronomy–presents us with a paradox. This book is completely Moses’s words: It is his valedictory speech to the Israelites and at the same time the divine word of God. How can both of these things be true? …

Use Your Words, Not Your Hands

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 1, 2021

Pinchas is synonymous with zealotry in the name of God. And that is scary. Throughout history, zealotry has led to violence: murderous attacks, lethal Crusades, and horrific acts of terror, all done in the name of God. Such actions have destroyed innumerous individuals, cultures, and communities, and have raised profound questions as to the morality and values of the religions that could promote such behavior.…

Believing is Seeing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 24, 2021

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.…

Can We Un-Stick Old Patterns?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 17, 2021

The transition into full adulthood, with its incumbent privileges and responsibilities, is often a long process. In recent years there has been increasing recognition of a stage of life between adolescence and adulthood; this stage has been called the “odyssey years.”…

Two Faces of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 10, 2021

The Torah emphasizes time and again that the Jewish people are holy. At their birth as a covenantal people at Mt. Sinai, God declares, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). In the beginning of Parshat Kedoshim, framing chapters dense with mitzvot, we read, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev.…