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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Shavuot

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.…

a page from a work of lurianic kabbalah

The Study of Kabbalah

The well-known custom of staying up all night on Shavuot to study Torah originated as a kabbalistic practice with roots in the Zohar. Every Shavuot, the Zohar explains, God marries the Jewish people once again, and the study of Torah beautifies the shechina (divine presence) before the marriage ceremony is to commence.…

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.…

What Do You Stand For?

Rabbi Ovadya Hedaya (1889-1969) was a rabbinic judge and kabbalist, the Sefardic rabbi of Petah Tiqua, and the recipient of the Israel Prize for Rabbinic Literature (1968). Rabbi Hedaya was born in Halab, Syria, and moved to Jerusalem at the age of nine.…

Does Torah Ever Take a Sleep Break?

Rav Menashe Klein zt”l, also known as the Ungvarer Rav, was a survivor of the Shoah and served as a communal leader and rosh yeshiva in Boro Park and in Jerusalem. The author of the 17-volume responsa Mishneh Halakhot, as well as many other books, he was renowned for his depth and breadth of knowledge.…

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. …

Is There Anything I May Do on Shabbat to Prepare for Yom Tov?

  This weekend, we will celebrate another marathon holiday – Shabbat followed by Shavuot. Shavuot, occurring later in spring, presents its own challenges of time: each day of the holiday, as with all yamim tovim, does not begin until dark, but as preparing for one day of the holiday on the previous one (or on Shabbat for Yom Tov) is forbidden, any preparations not done before the holiday may not begin until very late in the evening.…

On the Nature of Birkat HaTorah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 26, 2017

כי שם ה’ אקרא הבו גודל לא-לוהינו For the name of the Lord I proclaim; Give glory to our God (Devarim 32:3)   This verse, from Parashat Haazinu which we will be reading this Shabbat, Shabbat Shuva, is the basis for our daily recitation of Birkat HaTorah.…

Shavuot: Chag v’Chesed

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 5, 2016

The holiday of Shavuot is generally assumed to commemorate the giving of the Torah, which occurred on the sixth 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.…