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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah and Mesorah

Reading in the Dark: Strategies for Navigating Challenging Texts

by Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz
Posted on October 21, 2016

Midrashic Pedagogy: How the Rabbis Taught the Bible

by Rabbi David Kasher
Posted on October 21, 2016

How Should Tanakh Be Taught in our Schools? An Attempt to Smash Some Contemporary Idols

by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper
Posted on October 21, 2016

Is it Really 5776? How and Why the Jewish Year Was Born

by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag
Posted on October 21, 2016

Standing Again at Sinai

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 10, 2016

In one of his last instructions to the children of Israel, Moshe commands the people in the mitzvah of hakhel, a public reading of the Torah to take place once every seven years.  All the people are to be present: “Gather the nation: the men, the women, and the children, and the stranger who is in your gates” (31:12). …

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.…

A Living Covenant of Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 9, 2015

Parashat Netzavim opens with a gathering together of all the people of Israel to enter into a covenant with God. The Torah goes out of its way to make it clear that every single person is present and accounted for: You stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and your stranger that is in your camp, from the hewer of your wood unto the drawer of your water.…

When Does Less Become More?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 12, 2015

Twice in the book of Devarim, Moshe warns the people to keep the totality of the Torah, not adding to or detracting from it. In Parashat Re’eh we read, “Whatsoever I command you, that thing you shall observe to do; you shall not add to it, nor diminish from it” (13:1), echoing a parallel prohibition in Parashat Va’Etchanan (Devarim, 4:2).…

When Does the Oral Torah Begin?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 2015

What happens when we repeat a story or lesson in our own words? Does it improve with the retelling, or does it worsen? Is the message lost, or is it made more relevant? What is the point of retelling? Why not repeat things verbatim?…

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…

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.…

Who are the Main Characters of the Hagaddah?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 1, 2015

The central mitzvah of the Seder night is sippur yitziyat Mitzrayim, telling the story of the exodus from Egypt. The simplest way to do this would be to open Shemot and read the narrative directly from the Torah. This experience would certainly be more engaging than reading the story in the Haggadah – there is greater detail in the Torah, the plot is more dramatic, and, as one of my students recently pointed out, there are the characters, the actors who make the story interesting.…