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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Moadim/Holidays

Understanding Kedusha Through Hilkhot Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 18, 2009

When studying Chanukah, we often study the classic sugyot from Mesekhet Shabbat (21b-23a). However, a more obscure sugya – “The violators (pritzim) came and profaned it” in Avoda Zara, 52B – provides important insights as well. Based on this verse from Ezekiel 7:22, the Gemara states that when the Beit HaMikdash was violated in the time of the Hasmoneans, the altar lost its sanctity and, when the Hasmoneans were victorious, they needed to dismantle and bury the now desacralized altar.…

Yaakov, Striving and the Miracle of Chanukah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 11, 2009

In parshat Veyeishev, Yaakov, having finally endured the hardship and travails in the house of Lavan, and having finally returned to his homeland, the land of Canaan, and having reconciled with his brother Esav who (implicitly) agreed to relinquish his claim to the land, is now able to finally settle in the land of his fathers and to put all his troubles behind him: “And Yaakov settled in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.” However, as soon as this point is reached, the narrative turns to Yosef and his brothers, and Yaakov completely fades into the background: “These are the generations of Yaakov – Yosef was seventeen years…” Perhaps responding to this shift in the narrative, Chazal – as Rashi reminds us – comment on the first pasuk, “Vayeshev Yaakov – bikesh Yaakov lashevet bishalva” – Yaakov wanted to dwell in tranquility, but God would not allow it because “there is enough tranquility for the righteous in the World-to-Come.” What is the meaning of this midrash?…

A Silent Rosh Hashanah

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 14, 2009

Occasionally, the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat. And so, after a month of blowing shofar in anticipation of this great day, we celebrate the first day of Rosh Hashanah in silence. For most of us, this is greatly distressing – the very character of the day and our experience of its profundity are created through the blowing of the shofar, and we must sacrifice this for what seems like a minor concern – lest a person might forget and carry the shofar in the public domain.…

Shavuot: A Holiday of Communal Justice

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on August 6, 2009

The holiday of Shavuot is generally assumed to commemorate the giving of the Torah, which occurred on the 6th of Sivan. In the Torah, however, Shavuot is only described as an agricultural holiday and occurs not on any particular calendrical date, but at the culmination of seven weeks from the beginning of the harvest season that occurs on the second day of Pesach.…

Chuppah and Har Sinai

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on August 6, 2009

When we move from sefer Vayikra to sefer Bamidbar, we are finally moving away from Har Sinai, where Bnei Yisrael have been for almost a year. From the middle of Shemot through the end of Vayikra, they have been encamped at the foot of Har Sinai, having received the Torah, mitzvot and the laws, and then all the laws of the Kohanim, through Kedoshim and Behar Bichukotai.…

Fire or Light?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on December 22, 1998

The miracle of Chanukah is commemorated and publicized by the lighting of the candles. The Talmud (Shabbat 21b) tells us that the exact practice of how to light the Chanukah candles was disputed by the School of Hillel and the School of Shammai.…

Tekiot and Truot – Unity and Action

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on September 22, 1998

If we were asked what we associate with the day of Rosh Hashana, we would probably think in terms of the ritual obligation of the blowing of the shofar and of the broader philosphical implications of a day of judgement, the first of the Ten Days of Repentance.…

Tisha B’Av, Tragedy and a Personal God

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on July 22, 1998

On the Ninth of Av we mourn over the destruction of the Temple and over other great tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. It is a day marked by great sadness and sorrow, a day on which we are all mourners.…

The Yom Kippur Service and The Avoda of Teshuva

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on April 17, 1998

Parshat Acharay-Mot details the Temple service that the high priest would perform every Yom Kippur. Today, the description of the Temple service forms the center of the communal Yom Kippur Musaf prayer, and the Torah reading on Yom Kippur is taken from the parsha of Acharay-Mot.…