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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Moadim/Holidays

Are Our Days Numbered? Is the Omer a Dangerous Time?

Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapira (1868-1937) was the head of the rabbinical court of Mukachevo in western Ukraine and the third Rebbe of the Munkacs Chassidic dynasty. His father, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Shapira, the second Munkacser Rebbe, was the author of the Darkhe Teshuva, an important halakhic work, and his great-great grandfather, Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov, was the author of the classic Chasidic work Benei Yissaschar.…

Does God Play Dice with the Universe? Games of Chance and the Theology of Purim

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on February 25, 2021

Rabbi Yair Bacharach (1639-1702), one of the most important German halakhic decisions 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 Ba”Ch).…

Can a Person Write a Megillah in English? – Purim, Unity, and Diversity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 25, 2021

We know that a sefer Torah must be written in Hebrew. But what about a Megillah? The answer to this question is rooted in how we look at Purim. Is Purim a holiday of unity or one of diversity? The theme at the end of the Megillah is one of unity.…

Guide for an Afternoon Purim Seudah Going into Shabbat Dinner (pores mapah u’mikadesh)

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What Do We Mean By Faith?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 29, 2021

After the dramatic scene of the Egyptians being drowned in the Yam Suf, the Torah tells us, “Bnei Yisrael saw what the mighty hand that God had done in Egypt, וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּה’ וּבְמֹשֶׁה עַבְדּוֹ – and they believed in God and in Moshe, his servant.”…

cow in field , cow with flowers

Preserving the Cistern: Seeing the Earth as a Resource for All

Rabbi Shemuel ben Moshe de Medina (1505-1589) was Rosh HaYeshiva of the Thessaloniki yeshiva which produced some of the most important scholars and halakhic decisors of the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, he also served as the Av Beit Din, and in this role he was known for his humility and scholarship.…

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.…

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.…

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”. …

The Passion of Bride and Groom

In the Time of Coronavirus

One of the many customs of Simchat Torah is that of chatan Torah, the title given to the person who is called up to the Torah to receive the very last Aliyah of the Torah. The term chatan is an evocative one.…

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.…