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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Moadim/Holidays

Tisha B’Av – Aseh Lecha Rav

Rabbi Hayyim David HaLevi was the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yafo from 1973 until his death in 1998. Born and raised in Jerusalem, he studied at Yeshivat Porat Yosef under Rav Ezra Attiyah and Rav Ben Zion Meir Hai Uziel, author of Mishpetei Uziel and Chief Rabbi at the time of Israel’s founding.…

The Importance of Nishma

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 5, 2019

At the opening of Bamidbar, the Israelites prepare to finally move out from the foot of Mt. Sinai and to venture into the larger world.  They must take the Torah and mitzvoth that they have received and bring it into their lives, so that every movement is guided and shaped by the Torah.…

Accepting the Mitzvot as a Convert: Does it Matter What You’re Really Thinking?

Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Shmelkes (1828-1904) was one of the leading rabbis in the latter part of the 19th century in Eastern Europe. He was the head of the rabbinical court in Lvov (Lemberg) from 1869-1893. His Beit Yiẓḥak (6 vols., 1875–1908), on the four parts of the Shulkḥan Arukh, was widely acclaimed. …

Accidentally Mentioning the Day of the Omer

Rabbi Moshe Sofer (1762-1839), generally known as Hatam Sofer, was perhaps the most important European rabbi of the first half of the nineteenth century. He was widely recognized during his lifetime, and trained the next generation of Hungarian leadership at his yeshiva in Pressburg.…

Establishing Halakhic Marriage Norms in the New State

Rabbi Yitzhak Isaak Halevi Herzog (1888-1959) was Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of the State of Israel at the time of its founding. He had previously served as Chief Rabbi of Ireland, until he succeeded Rav Kook in 1936. Aside from his work in developing the institutions of the Israeli Rabbinate, he is most famous for his doctorate on the proper identification of tekhelet.…

The Joy of Text Ep. 407: On Matzah and Sex (Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1)

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 15, 2019

These sources accompany the Matzah and Sex episode of the Joy of Text podcast.   1. Yerushalmi Pesahim 10:1 ירושלמי פסחים י’:א’ ר’ יודן נשייא סחה וצחא שאל לר’ מנא בגין דאתא צחי מהו נישתי. א”ל תני ר’ חייה אסור לאדם לטעום כלום עד שתחשך.…

Don’t Talk While You’re Eating?

Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg (1915-2006) was a rav and dayyan in Jerusalem, a member of the Chief Rabbinical Court in Israel, and the informal halakhic authority of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The author of the 21-volume set of responsa, Tzitz Eliezer, he remains a widely respected posek, one of the leading voices of the previous generation.…

Why Cross-Dressing on Purim is Kosher (Shulchan Aruch 6:96), Joy of Text 4:06

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 20, 2019

These sources accompany the Cross-Dressing on Purim episode of the Joy of Text podcast.   1. Rema, Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayim 696:8 רמ”א, שו”ע אורח חיים תרצ”ו:ח’ ומה שנהגו ללבוש פרצופים בפורים, וגבר לובש שמלת אשה ואשה כלי גבר, אין איסור בדבר מאחר שאין מכוונין אלא לשמחה בעלמא; וכן בלבישת כלאים דרבנן.…

Mishloah Manot, Cultivating Friendship, and the Absence of a Brakha

Rabbi Yehiel Yaakov Weinberg (1884-1966) was the last rector of the Neo-Orthdox Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin. In his youth in Lithuania, he had been considered an illui, a young genius, and studied under Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel at Yeshivat Kenesset Yisrael Slobodka.…

Tu B’Shevat and Creative Destruction

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 the world’s most prominent yeshivot before the war. After making aliyah, 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.…

Lighting Hanukkah Candles with Electric Lights: A Teshuvah from Rav Yaakov Moshe Toledano

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Toledano (1880-1960), author of Responsa Yam HaGadol, was a Sepharadi rabbi and posek. He served Jewish communities in his hometown of Tiberias, in Tangier, Cairo, and finally Tel Aviv, where he served as the Sepharadi chief rabbi. In 1958, he was appointed the Minister of Religions.…

The Power of Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 27, 2018

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.…