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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Moadim/Holidays

young boy in a white t-shirt blowing a shofar with a black background

Atonement and Sacrifice

In the days of the Beit HaMikdash, one achieved atonement through two key rituals: vidui (confession) and the offering of korbanot (sacrifices). Although each one could be viewed as a separate act, both pieces were fundamentally brought together by the kohen gadol, or high priest, on Yom Kippur. …

the roofs of various sukkahs against a building in the sun

Who Cares for Those Who Care for Others?

For seven days on Sukkot, we are commanded to leave our homes and make the sukkah our fixed place of residence. All the activities one would normally do in their home–eating, sleeping, relaxing–are to be done in the sukkah. By participating in this holiday, we recreate the Jewish people’s experience of living in the desert after leaving Egypt.…

large rectangular broom-mop device glides across gleaming wooden floor

Yom Kippur 5782 Greetings from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 14, 2021

Dear Friends, Yom Kippur is a day which often directs us inward. It prompts us to ask ourselves where we have succeeded and where we have failed, and how we want to do better going forward. This is the classic process of teshuvah: to return (shav) to our past, to repent, to correct and, hopefully, to achieve forgiveness. …

young boy in a white t-shirt blowing a shofar with a black background

Atonement and Sacrifice

In the days of the Beit HaMikdash, one achieved atonement through two key rituals: vidui (confession) and the offering of korbanot (sacrifices). Although each one could be viewed as a separate act, both pieces were fundamentally brought together by the kohen gadol, or high priest, on Yom Kippur. …

God Is King. What Does That Mean for Us?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2021

What is the meaning of Rosh HaShanah as a day of kingship? The idea of kingship is central to Rosh HaShanah. In the third blessing of Shmoneh Eisrei, starting with Rosh HaShanah and moving all the way through Yom Kippur, we say that God is not HaEl HaKadosh, “Holy God,” but rather HaMelech HaKadosh, or “Holy King.”…

a headshot of rabbi linzer smiling with a library in the background

Rosh HaShanah 5782 Greetings: A Letter from Rabbi Dov Linzer

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2021

Dear Friends, Lately, I find myself thinking about breath.  We breathe–and punctuate those breaths–in order to make the distinct sounds of the shofar when we blow it on Rosh HaShanah. As Rosh HaShanah marks the first day of God’s Creation of the World, I also think about the Divine breath that “hovered over the water,” before the Divine speech brought light into the world.…

Crying on Rosh Hashanah

Though rarely spoken about, one of the more fascinating themes of Rosh Hashanah is that of tears. The haftarah of the first day recounts the story of Elkanah and his wives Chana and Penina. Each year, they make the trek to Shilo to bring offerings to God, and each year Chana is mocked by Penina for not having children.…

Shabbat and Fair Trade Chocolate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 2021

The giving of the Ten Commandments was an earth-shattering, never-before-experienced event. God revealed Godself directly to the entire Israelite people. It was the most profound Divine-human encounter to have ever occurred, never again to be repeated in world history. But while the event itself was never repeated, the telling of that event most definitely was.…

Tisha B’Av in the Time of Cholera

Rabbi Moshe Schick (1807-1879) was a major Hungarian halakhic authority during the second half of the 19th century. He was also a close pupil of the Chatam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer, Hungary, 1762-1839), with whom he studied in the Pressburg Yeshiva.…

Is Inclusion a Jewish Value?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 27, 2021

Is inclusion a Jewish value? The answer seems obvious. God enjoins the Israelites, “You shall have one standard for stranger and citizen alike” (Leviticus 24:22). Those who might otherwise be at the margins of society are to be equal members. My wife, however, hates the word “inclusion.”…

Living with God in Our Midst

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 13, 2021

What does it mean to live with God in our midst? God commanded the Israelites in the wilderness to build the Tabernacle, “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell amongst them” (Exodus 25:8). Interestingly, the verse does not state that God shall dwell within “it,” the Tabernacle, but rather “amongst them,” the people.…

A Time of New Beginnings

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 13, 2021

Dear Friends, Shavuot is a time of renewal. During the era of the Temple, this period marked the time when the community would offer two loaves of wheat to signify the ripening of the wheat throughout the land, and the individual would bring his own first fruit to the Temple.…