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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Moadim/Holidays

Why Do We Fast?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 26, 2023

As we enter into Tisha b’Av, our minds and hearts are directed towards the current turmoil that is roiling Israel and tearing at the very fabric of Israeli society. Whatever one thinks about the substantive issues relating to the changes in the judicial system, and wherever one is tempted to point the blame, we should all be able to recognize the tragic disunity and deep damage—in terms of the society, economy, military preparedness, and international relations—that recent weeks and months have brought about.…

Picture of Auschwitz

Remembering the Holocaust on Tisha B’Av

by Rabbi Zachary Truboff
Posted on July 24, 2023

Since World War Two, Jews have long struggled with how to best commemorate the Holocaust. The state of Israel would eventually establish Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, but many religious Jews did not initially embrace it.…

National and Individual Kabbalat haTorah

by Rabbanit Devorah Zlochower
Posted on May 22, 2023

Feminist theologian, Dr. Judith Plaskow, famously begins her major work, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (1991) with the following words:  Entry into the covenant at Sinai is the root experience of Judaism, the central event that established the Jewish people.…

Why Is the Torah So Hard To Read

Click here to print. One of the more unusual features of a Torah scroll is that it lacks vowels and punctuation. Yet when one considers the importance of precision when reading from a Torah scroll in synagogue, the lack of vowels and punctuation is quite striking.…

Land of Milk and Honey—Exploring the Blessing of Israel

by Rabbi Eitan Cooper
Posted on April 27, 2023

We’ve all heard the phrase—Israel is the “Land Flowing with Milk and Honey.”  But what exactly does this mean? And can this phrase teach us anything in particular, as we reflect on Israel turning 75 this past week? The end of this week’s Torah Portion (Achrei Mot-Kedoshim) contains one of the several instances of this famous description of Israel (though it is the only time in the book of Leviticus that it appears).…

All Who Are Hungry—In And Out Of The House

by Rabbi Eitan Cooper
Posted on March 30, 2023

You’re sitting down at your seder and everyone is enjoying each other’s company, when all of a sudden, you hear a knock at the door. Someone gets up to answer and finds a person who is clearly in need standing at the door.…

When You Can’t Buy Chametz Back After Pesach

Click here to print. As a synagogue rabbi, one of the most complicated halakhic rituals is arranging the sale of chametz before Pesach. Rather than consist of simple agreement between buyer and seller, the chametz is sold through a variety of kinyanim, which can include the giving of silver (kesef), renting land and acquiring property along with it (kinyan agav), a contract (shtar), and even a handshake agreement (situmta).…

Educational Comments During Megillah Reading

Click here to print. The megillah is one of the most fascinating stories in all of the Tanakh, and many steps are taken to make the reading as engaging as possible. We make noise when we hear Haman’s name being sounded.…

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.…

etrogim at market

Can I Compost My Etrog After Sukkot?