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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

A Silent Rosh Hashanah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 14, 2009

Occasionally, the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat. And so, after a month of blowing shofar in anticipation of this great day, we celebrate the first day of Rosh Hashanah in silence. For most of us, this is greatly distressing – the very character of the day and our experience of its profundity are created through the blowing of the shofar, and we must sacrifice this for what seems like a minor concern – lest a person might forget and carry the shofar in the public domain.…

A Split Parsha, A Split Vision

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 6, 2009

B’ha’alotkha is rich with many stories of the challenges, adventures, and misadventures of Bnei Yisrael’s travelling from Har Sinai and moving towards the Land of Israel. What is visually the most striking is the parsha of “va’yehi binsoa ha’aron,” “and it was when the Ark travelled,” which occurs in the middle of the parsha, and is set off by inverted Hebrew-nuns.…

Shavuot: A Holiday of Communal Justice

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 6, 2009

The holiday of Shavuot is generally assumed to commemorate the giving of the Torah, which occurred on the 6th of Sivan. In the Torah, however, Shavuot is only described as an agricultural holiday and occurs not on any particular calendrical date, but at the culmination of seven weeks from the beginning of the harvest season that occurs on the second day of Pesach.…

Chuppah and Har Sinai

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on August 6, 2009

When we move from sefer Vayikra to sefer Bamidbar, we are finally moving away from Har Sinai, where Bnei Yisrael have been for almost a year. From the middle of Shemot through the end of Vayikra, they have been encamped at the foot of Har Sinai, having received the Torah, mitzvot and the laws, and then all the laws of the Kohanim, through Kedoshim and Behar Bichukotai.…

People Cannot be Aggregated

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 12, 2009

Parshat Ki Tisa opens with a census and the requirement to give money rather than to be counted directly.   What – other than superstition – is the point of this?  I believe that the Torah is telling us a critical message about the worth of each person. …

Fire or Light?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 22, 1998

The miracle of Chanukah is commemorated and publicized by the lighting of the candles. The Talmud (Shabbat 21b) tells us that the exact practice of how to light the Chanukah candles was disputed by the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai.…

Tekiot and Truot – Unity and Action

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 22, 1998

If we were asked what we associate with the day of Rosh Hashana, we would probably think in terms of the ritual obligation of the blowing of the shofar and of the broader philosphical implications of a day of judgement, the first of the Ten Days of Repentance.…

Tisha B’Av, Tragedy and a Personal God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on July 22, 1998

On the Ninth of Av we mourn over the destruction of the Temple and over other great tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. It is a day marked by great sadness and sorrow, a day on which we are all mourners.…

Standing for Truth while Pursuing Peace

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on July 22, 1998

The parsha of Matot-Masay concludes the story of the Moab-Midian attack against the Israelites. In the parsha of Balak we read that the Moabite women enticed the Israelite men to engage in illicit sex and to worship the pagan god Ba’al.…

Leadership, Humility and Respect

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 18, 1998

In BeHa’alotcha, the Torah begins its narrative of the travels of the Israelites through the wilderness of Sinai. The stories of the Israelites’ sojourns, of their sins and of their quarrels, give us insight into the character of the people and especially of their leaders.…

Serving God Ideally

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 8, 1998

In parshat Bechukotai, God tells the Israelites that if they obey His commandments they will be blessed with all kinds of material blessings: rain in the right time, bountiful crops, children, health, and peace. If, however, they disobey Him and reject His commandments all types of tragedy will befall them: disease, famine, death in battle, and, finally, exile from the land.…

‘To Her he Shall Become Impure’ – Serving God by Leaving the Temple

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 1, 1998

The parsha of Emor centers on the sanctity of the Kohanim: their obligation not to become impure, restrictions on whom they can marry, and the conditions under which they can serve in the Temple and eat its sacrifices. The end of the parsha enumerates all the festivals of the year and the special sacrifices brought on each.…