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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Archive: September 2016

Why Doesn’t Yom Kippur Come Before Rosh HaShana?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 25, 2016

The relationship between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is both obvious and complex. Obvious, in that Divine judgment and forgiveness are closely connected – we recognize that there is no one who can justify him or herself to their Creator, and thus a day of judgment requires a day of forgiveness which brings with it the Divine gift of atonement.…

Psychotherapy and Teshuvah: Parallel and Overlapping Systems for Change

by Dr. Michelle Friedman, MD
Posted on July 5, 2016

People come to mental health treatment because they are in pain. The presentations of their pain vary–they come because they suffer from symptoms that restrict or threaten their lives, because they struggle with inner conflicts that undermine and torment their integrity, or because if they don’t come, they will lose their job, their spouse, or their children.…

More Kingship, Less Judgment

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 10, 2015

Rosh Hashanah is a Yom HaDin, a Day of Judgment. We will stand before God, and God will take measure of our deeds of the past year. This characterization of the day opens and frames the Zikhronot of Musaf: “Atah zokher ma’aseh olam, u’foked kol yitzurei kedem,” “You, God, remember the deeds of everyone in the world, and recall all those from previous times … and regarding the countries it will be said which is for sword and which is for peace, which is for hunger and which for abundance, and all creatures are recalled, to be remembered for life or for death.” …

Why Do We Fast?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 30, 2015

Why do we fast? The general understanding is that it acts as a spur for teshuvah, repentance. This explanation works for the fast days examined in the Talmudic tractate of Ta’anit – fasting during times of drought, locust, and the like – but what about the fast days that commemorate tragic historical events?…

The Weight of Sin

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 2, 2014

Sin and atonement are very abstract, colorless concepts. When we discuss such things, we tend to do so in relation to other abstract concepts: “Sin is an act of transgressing God’s will or commandment; atonement is the act of divine forgiveness, or of becoming reconciled and at one with God.”…

The Teshuva of Kingship

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 23, 2014

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, many of us are preparing for this Day of Judgment by engaging in the traditional process of teshuvah, of repentance. This process, as described by the Rabbis, is one that is focused inward. It involves serious self-reflection: assessing our behavior over the past year, truly regretting our sins and misdeeds, and committing to act differently in the future.…

A thought for Shabbat Shuva and Yom Kippur

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 21, 2012

The relationship between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is both obvious and complex. Obvious, in that Divine judgment and forgiveness are closely connected – we recognize that there is no one who can justify him or herself to their Creator, and thus a day of judgment requires a day of forgiveness which brings with it the Divine gift of atonement.…

Cleaning the Temple, Cleaning our World

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 6, 2011

This is an emended piece that I wrote on Yom Kippur and the Temple Service which was originally published in the Jerusalem Post Magazine, on Sept 28, 2008. “For on this day he shall atone for you to purify you; that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”…

Sacrifices, Teshuva and Our Relationship with God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 23, 2011

Parshat Nitzavim always falls immediately before Rosh HaShana, and appropriately so. For it is in this parasha that the Torah speaks at great length about the power of teshuva: “And you will return to the Lord your God and obey God’s voice… you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul” (Devarim 30:2).…

To Declare and To Confess

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 16, 2011

Ki Tavo opens with two rituals: the bringing of the first fruit, the bikkurim, where one declares his gratitude for God’s goodness, and the dispensing of the tithes at the end of three years where one states that he has dispensed these tithes according to the law.…

The Yom Kippur Service and The Avoda of Teshuva

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted 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.…