Today is September 24, 2021 / /

The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Machshava/Jewish Thought

COVID and Clothing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 17, 2020

Our clothes are closely connected to our body and our identity. They have the power to disguise who we are, represent who we are, and even shape who we are. Clothing plays an important role in this week’s parsha and in the prior ones as well.…

vaccine-shot, needle

Should I Make a Brakha When Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Question: Do I make a brakha when receiving a COVID-19 vaccine shot or when it begins to be distributed in my city? If so, what brakha?   Answer: We should start by noting that the question you are asking is a halakhic one regarding the specific formulaic blessing of the Barukh atah nature.…

The Angels in Our Lives

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 10, 2020

Who have been the angels in our lives? At a critical moment in the story of Joseph and his brothers, there is a turning point that goes by so fast, that if you blink you’ll miss it. Joseph travels to Shechem to visit his brothers, yet he searches for them in vain.…

Sharing the Light: Is Religious Maximalism a Good Thing?

In the Time of Coronavirus

Chanukkah celebrates religious maximalism. We increase the number of lights each night to show that we will not just make do with the bare minimum of one light per night. In doing this, we remember the miracle of the oil, where the Jews at the time sought out pure oil, although impure oil would have sufficed under the circumstances.…

All your Mitzvahs in One Basket?

Rabbi Yitzchak Weiss was the Rabbi and Av Beit Din in Vrbové, western Slovakia. He was a student of Rabbi David Neumann Lackenbach, the Rabbi and Av Beit Din of Pressburg (modern day Bratislava) and a student of the Hatam Sofer.…

Hand catching rain

What Does Tein Tal u’Matar Have to Do with Julius Caesar and the Secular Date?

In the Time of Coronavirus

This Saturday night, December 5th, we will begin to add “וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה,” the prayer for rain in its right time, into our weekday Shmoneh Esrei. The key halakhot that one must know regarding this are as follows: if one forgets to add this prayer in during בָּרֵךְ עָלֵֽינוּ, they may add it in later during שְׁמַע קוֹלֵֽנוּ.…

Sukkah-in-the-dessert from Neot Kedumim Biblical Nature Park

Catching Our (Collective) Breath

In the Time of Coronavirus

Sometimes we need to just stop and catch our breath. Esav moves with his 400 men towards Yaakov and his family, and Yaakov fears for all of their lives. Through a combination of stratagem and diplomacy, Yaakov emerges from the encounter safe and unharmed and is now prepared to continue to Canaan.…

Isaac digging wells

Are You a Seeker or a Dweller?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 19, 2020

Are you a seeker or a dweller? Scholars of religion have noted that religious people can be categorized as either seekers or dwellers. Seekers are the ones who are looking for G-d, meaning, and truth. They wonder about how religion’s messages and teachings can play out in their lives, and they look to bring a religious ethos into the world.…

Insiders and Outsiders

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 12, 2020

A major theme in this week’s parasha, Chayei Sarah, is the question of insiders and outsiders. How do we relate to the larger country around us? How do we relate to foreigners? This is quite relevant to the question of immigrants in a society – are their contributions to be feared or embraced?…

Yizkor

In the Time of Coronavirus

The two primary paragraphs of Yizkor — the titular “Yizkor” and the well-known “El Maleh Rachamim” — are contrasting devotions. El Maleh Rachamim requests repose. The key word is Menucha, or rest.  We ask that God grant our relative’s soul “fitting rest … a rest in the Garden of Eden … so that they rest in peace”. …

Holy Imperfection

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Rabbis tell us that the mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah means that we are, for this week, to tzei midirat keva ve’sheiv bi’dirat aray –to leave our established, permanent abode and live in a temporary dwelling. In other years, I have understood the message to be that by living in a temporary dwelling we become aware that the normal stability and predictability of our lives – our established abode – is actually an illusion.…

Intention and Identity: Which Trees Produce a Kosher Lulav?

Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873-1960) is best known as the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. He was born and raised in Lithuania, where he studied at Slobodka and Telz, two of Europe’s most prominent yeshivot before the war. After making aliyah in 1892, he became a part of the rabbinic establishment of the old yishuv, while also building a close connection with Rav Kook, becoming part of his circle of intimates along with Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Charlap, and the Nazir, Rabbi David Cohen.…