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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

Women Navigating a Man’s World

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 3, 2015

The story of Yehuda and Tamar is often understood to be Yehuda’s story, but it is also Tamar’s story. It is the story not of a leader or a person in a position of power, but of someone without power and without a voice.…

What Does the Torah Have to Say About Thanksgiving?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 25, 2015

With all the tragic events occurring around the world, it is a time of great anxiety. And yet, with Thanksgiving, we must take a moment to reflect on the meaning of thankfulness. What should we be thankful for? How can we cultivate thankfulness in ourselves?…

A Marriage of Equals?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 19, 2015

In the Torah story of Avraham’s servant and his interaction with Rivka, her brother, and her mother, we saw that society in Padan Aram had an unusual family structure. As a matrilineal society, households were comprised of the children of the same mother, and the head of the household was the mother’s oldest brother, perhaps at times working in conjunction with the matriarch.…

Maintaining Stability or Effecting Change?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 12, 2015

Finally, it looks like Yitzchak’s story will be the major theme of this parashat Toldot. Until now, Yitzchak has only played a part in other people’s stories: Avraham offering him up at the akeida and the servant finding him a fit wife.…

Was Rivka a (Gasp!) Feminist?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 4, 2015

When Avraham charges his servant to find a wife for Yitzchak, the servant asks a strange question: “Perhaps the woman will not desire to follow me to this land. Should I return your son to the land which you came from?”…

Passionate Judaism or Rational Judaism?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 30, 2015

Do we want a religion of fire or ice, of passionate religious fervor or sober, detached rationality? In many ways, Modern Orthodoxy has chosen the latter. This goes beyond an emphasis on the intellectual, on prizing Talmudic scholarship and broad academic achievement.…

Wanted: Partners, Not Followers

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 21, 2015

Avraham and Noach stand in stark contrast to one another. Noach was a follower. He did what he was told, exactly what he was told, no more and no less. He was told to build an ark, “and Noach did all that God had commanded him” (Bereishit, 6:22).…

Unity Not Uniformity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 14, 2015

“And from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the entire Earth” (Breishit, 11:8). What was the sin of the Tower of Babel, and why was it necessary to scatter them and create many languages? Are not geographical distance and the differences of language and culture the primary bases of misunderstanding and fear of the other?…

Breishit: A Story of Growing Up

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 8, 2015

When the world was freshly minted and created, we heard the refrain with each act of creation, “And God saw that it was good,” and that the world as a whole was “exceedingly good.” Then, humans came and made a mess of everything, and a different refrain is heard: And God saw “massive was the evil of man on the earth, and all the thoughts of his heart were only evil the entire day” (Bereishit 6:5).…

Beginning the Torah Cycle Anew

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 1, 2015

Simchat Torah is the second day of Shmini Atzeret. Indeed, in Israel the two are celebrated on the same day. In some Sefardic and Chassidic communities, the themes are also merged to a certain degree. For example, some shuls do hakafoton the night of Shmini Atzeret and on Simchat Torah.…

Cleansing the Temple, Cleansing our World 

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 21, 2015

Published in the Jerusalem Post on Sept. 28, 2008 “For on this day he shall atone for you to purify you; that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” (Lev. 16:30) This verse appears at the end of the Torah reading for Yom Kippur, when we leave all of our this-worldly pursuits behind, even food and drink, a day that is totally devoted to God, and a day we are promised atonement for our sins.…

More Kingship, Less Judgment

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 10, 2015

Rosh Hashanah is a Yom HaDin, a Day of Judgment. We will stand before God, and God will take measure of our deeds of the past year. This characterization of the day opens and frames the Zikhronot of Musaf: “Atah zokher ma’aseh olam, u’foked kol yitzurei kedem,” “You, God, remember the deeds of everyone in the world, and recall all those from previous times … and regarding the countries it will be said which is for sword and which is for peace, which is for hunger and which for abundance, and all creatures are recalled, to be remembered for life or for death.” …