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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

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.…

Trips and Tribulations

by Rabbi Yonah Berman
Posted on July 28, 2022

Masei, the second of our two parshiot this week, starts off “These are the journeys of the Israelites, who had left Egypt in organized groups under the leadership of Moshe and Aharon” (Num. 33:1).  Abarbanel, a 15th and 16th Century Portuguese/Italian commentator, looks at this list and notices that some of the names don’t appear in any other places in the Torah.…

From Zeal to Real: Pinchas, You and Me

by Rabbi Yonah Berman
Posted on July 21, 2022

Zealots. Zeal. Zealotry. Zealousness. A term which is complicated and an ideal which is controversial in our tradition. It was the Zealots who, close to 2100 years ago, destroyed the granaries in Jerusalem, causing our ancestors to have to fight the Romans and ultimately lose the city to them.…

Ma Tovu: Sanctity and Sacredness in our Communal Spaces

by Rabbi Yonah Berman
Posted on July 14, 2022

I recently traveled to Poland with a group of students from our Yeshiva. Our main goals were to help members of the Polish Jewish community prepare for Passover and to provide assistance to Ukrainian refugees, Jewish and non Jewish, as they crossed the border, fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.…

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?…

Valid Confrontations

by eweinbach
Posted on June 30, 2022

  At the beginning of this week’s parsha, Korach leads his followers against Moshe and Aaron. He makes the claim that since the entire nation is holy, why should leadership be relegated to just two people?(Num 16:3). As we know, HaShem doesn’t agree, and causes the earth to swallow the followers of Korach(Num 16:31-33).…

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.…

Mishkan in the Middle

by eweinbach
Posted on June 2, 2022

When you arrive at your parent’s house for the holidays, or invite that uncle over for Shabbat, you may find yourself discussing topics of great social and political import. And you may find yourself to be bamidbar – in the desert – a place devoid of the refreshing waters of agreement.…

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.…