Today is February 7, 2023 / /

The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Moadim/Holidays

Waste Not: Re-Empowering a Halakhic Environmental Principle

Click here to print. Rabbi Yair Bacharach (1639-1702), one of the most important German halakhic decisors of the premodern era and author of the responsa, Chavot Yair, was a student of Rabbi Mendel Bass, (who was himself the student of Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, the Bach).…

lit menorah with colored candles against a pitch-black background. it is beautiful

Only by Bringing the Light out of the House, Will We Begin To Dispel the Darkness

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 16, 2022

The act of lighting candles on Chanukkah is understood in halakha to be an act of pirsumei nisa, publicizing the miracle. If the candles are not able to be seen, then one does not fulfil the mitzvah. Through our lighting, we proclaim: The Maccabees had pride in their faith and were willing to stand up for it.…

Chanukah Candles for a Friday Night Dinner at Shul

It is not uncommon during Chanukah for synagogues to hold Friday night dinners during Chanukah, as it can be a good way to bring people together, and especially so for young families due to the early start time of Shabbat. However, doing so raises the question about where and when Chanukah candles should be lit by those eating their at the shul.…

Can I Compost My Etrog After Sukkot?

A Guide To What Shouldn’t Be Perplexing: Unpacking One Of Shlomo HaMelech’s More Peculiar Queries

by Dvir Cahana
Posted on October 13, 2022

Though the four species are rich in meaning and carry layered sets of connotative significance, it is curious to read Vayikra Rabbah 30:14—when the midrash tells us that Shlomo HaMelech, in all his brilliance, was baffled by the meaning of the four species.…

western wall

The Mitzvah of Hakhel Today

Every seven years, during the holiday of Sukkot following shemitah, the Torah states that the Jewish people are to hold a ceremony known as hakhel, perhaps best translated as gathering. The ceremony entails a public reading of several sections of the Torah from Devarim, with the goal that those present will “hear and learn to revere your God and observe faithfully every word of this teaching” (Devarim 31:12).…

rainstorm through a window

Sukkot and the Lulav’s Lessons for Today: Sukkot Greetings from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 7, 2022

Sukkot is a holiday about homes–both the permanent and temporary sort–and homelessness. It commemorates how we wandered in the desert with no protection from the elements and no fixed place we could call home, and how God gave us immediate, temporary relief from the former through the Clouds of Glory and ultimate relief from the latter by bringing us into the land of Israel. …

etrogim at market

The Mitzvah of Lulav in Jerusalem Today

All three pilgrimage festivals were centered around the experience of being at the Temple during the holiday. Whereas each person was required to offer a sacrifice for the festival, on Sukkot other unique rituals also took place at the Temple over the seven days of the holiday.…

Sukkah As Tabernacle

by Tadhg Cleary
Posted on October 6, 2022

The Rema—the great Halakhic Codifier of Ashkenazi Jewry—rules that we should build the sukkah on the day after Yom Kippur (starting even right after we break the fast) (Orach Chaim, 624:5-625:1). Some infer that, ideally, we are not supposed to even begin construction of the sukkah at all during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva—the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.…

blue sky

Let’s Try to Be a Little Less Focused This Coming Year

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 3, 2022

We are so often told that the way to success is to set our goals and then work to achieve them with single-minded focus. Indeed, for Ramban, the word het, sin—a word that dominates our Yom Kippur prayers—means to miss the target, not to stay straight and fully directed towards what we aim to achieve in our religious lives. …

hanging lightbulbs

An Electric Light for Havdalah After Yom Kippur?

With the advent of electricity in the last century, halakha has faced many new questions unknown to our ancestors. Countless teshuvot and books have been written attempting to analyze the nature of electricity and how it should be conceptualized within halakhic categories.…

Between Shabbat and Teshuvah

The One Where Adam Discovers Teshuva

Let me tell you about the day that humanity first discovered teshuvah.  As the midrash tells it, it all happens on the day Kayin killed Hevel. After that first murder, Kayin accepts HaShem’s verdict as just—he is to be exiled from the land. …