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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Archive: August 2022

Act Before You Feel

by Adam Cohen
Posted on August 25, 2022

Do I kiss somebody because I love them or feel love for that person after I kiss them? William James does not think that we lose something valuable and cry because we are sad. Or that we meet a bear, are frightened and run.…

The Equalizing Myth

by Adam Cohen
Posted on August 11, 2022

In March 2020, a theory emerged that many people loved. By April 2020, it had been completely shot down. I am talking about the idea that coronavirus, or life in lockdown, had an equalizing effect. It did not discriminate against anyone!…

The Reciprocity Principle

by Adam Cohen
Posted on August 4, 2022

Imagine you see a busker playing the violin in a train station. You give them money as you walk past and carry on with your day. But it is a shame in a way. Just 30 more seconds of your time and you could have taken this mitzvah to the next level.…

Bring Your B-Game

by eweinbach
Posted on July 7, 2022

Your community is running a fundraiser but you’ve never made fundraising calls before. Your synagogue needs a minyan but you are often late. A sick person down the block needs a visitor but you don’t know what to say. What if you mess up?…

Image of Tzitzit

Tzitzit: Mental and Physical

by eweinbach
Posted on June 23, 2022

When commanding us to wear tzitzit, the pasuk says “uzchartem et kol mitzvot HaShem vaasitem otam – you shall remember all the commandments of G-d and you shall perform them” (Num. 15:39). There are two aspects here, remembering and doing. But shouldn’t vaasitem be enough?…

Taking Inclusion Seriously

by eweinbach
Posted on June 16, 2022

How should we respond when there are those in our community who tell us that they feel excluded? In this week’s parsha Beha’alotcha, two people explain that they were tamei meit at the time of the Korban Pesach, and were therefore unable to bring it (Num 9:6).…

Nazir: The Rebalancing Act

by eweinbach
Posted on June 9, 2022

Who exactly is the option of Nezirut for? The Nazir takes it upon themselves to refrain from all grape products and hair cutting, and to avoid ritual impurity imparted by the dead (Num. 6:3-6). At a glance, it would seem that anyone would be invited to take this on if they so choose.…

Tochacha: Cause & Effect

by eweinbach
Posted on May 26, 2022

What is the connection between the blessings of Bechukotai and the curses of the tochacha that follow it? Let’s look closely at the blessings. The cause and effect are clear – “Im bechukotai telechu – if you follow my decrees,” then “venatati gishmeichem beitam – I will provide rains in their time” (Lev.…

Constructing Holy Space

by Jason Goldstein
Posted on May 19, 2022

After a long chapter that puts forth the details of Shemita and Yovel, the Torah concludes Parsha Behar with “You shall keep my Sabbaths and revere my Sanctuary” (Lev 26:2). While these are essential mitzvot, why does the Torah conclude its elucidation of the laws of Shemita with two unrelated commands?…

The Ben Ish Mitzri and Halakha

by Jason Goldstein
Posted on May 12, 2022

Sefer Vayikra is a book of laws. However, there are two short narrative sections in the sefer. This sparsity of narrative easily lends itself to a comparison of the two stories. Through an analysis of these stories, we can shed light on the halakhot of Sefer Vayikra in particular, and on the import of Jewish Law in general.…

Achrei Mot: Counting Sefirat HaOmer

by Jason Goldstein
Posted on April 28, 2022

What is the purpose of Sefirat HaOmer? We are now well into our yearly journey through Sefirat HaOmer. We began counting on the second day of Pesach and will continue through Shavuot. Day in and day out, week in and week out, we count.…

Metzora: Two Tips I Learned In Yeshiva for Overcoming Lashon Hara (Evil Speech)

by eliyoggev
Posted on April 7, 2022

Parshat Metzora speaks about the healing process of the metzora from their tzara’at skin affliction. The Sages explain that one suffers from this malady due to speaking lashon hara, evil speech, about others. Lashon hara is such a bad thing that it completely transforms the individual for the worse—to the point that their skin starts to show the effects of this negative behavior! …