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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

Fire in the Bronx and the Pillar of Fire

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 14, 2022

I had the privilege the other night to be at a vigil in the Bronx held opposite the building where the recent terrible tragedy occurred, the raging fire that claimed the lives of 19 souls, many of whom were children. What was remarkable that evening was how many of the speakers referenced God: “God is with us,” “God loves us,” “God loves the children.”…

Sputtering Redemption

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 7, 2022

There are striking parallels between the actions that the Israelites took to protect themselves against the Plague of the Firstborn and the actions that we took, beginning close to two years ago, to protect ourselves against our plague – the coronavirus pandemic. …

two diverging paths in a park with tall green trees and green grass. cloudy sky. like a fairybook. ethereal quality.

When Teshuvah Seems Impossible

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 30, 2021

Is it sometimes not possible to do teshuvah?  Or at least, can it feel that way? Many commentators have noted that initially it is not God who hardens Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus story. It is Pharaoh himself: “When Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and listened not unto them” (Ex.…

Anti-Semitism and Othering

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 23, 2021

The book of Shemot opens with the first phenomenon of anti-Semitism that we find in the Torah. It is not hatred directed at an individual, but to an entire people.  It begins with Pharoah. He says to his fellow Egyptians that the Hebrews are a people to be feared: “Behold, the people are more numerous than us.…

The Last Kindness

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 17, 2021

Jacob is sick and believes that he is about to die. Eager to ensure that he will be buried in the land of Canaan, he calls Joseph to his bedside and asks him for one final favor: “Do for me chesed ve-emet, kindness and truth.…

painting of joseph being begged for help from his brothers

Don’t Forgive So Fast

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 9, 2021

Psychologists and those offering religious guidance will often talk about learning to forgive those who have hurt us even if they have never—and will never—apologize. It is possible, however, to be too quick to issue that forgiveness. There are costs in rushing to forgive others.…

blue sky, looks like dusk or twilight, with the word dreams written in puffy white clouds

Dream the Impossible Dream

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 2, 2021

Dreams are a significant part of the lives of both Jacob and Joseph. Jacob dreams of a ladder that is anchored in the ground and goes up to heaven while the angels rise and descend on it. He also dreams in Laban’s house of an angel who tells him to return to the land of Canaan.…

judah bedding tamar dressed as a prostitute and veiled

Deception That’s a Truth, and Deception That’s a Lie

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 24, 2021

How do the women in the Torah navigate a patriarchal society? One very rare model is Sarah. At times, Sarah silently follows Avraham’s directions, even when he misrepresents her–twice!–as his sister.  At other times, however, she is surprisingly very direct, particularly when it comes to Hagar and Yishmael: “Take my maidservant!”…

The Secret Of Thanksgiving? Humility

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 18, 2021

With the all the ongoing intractability of COVID, the state of the economy, the deepening impact of the climate conference, and the rise in anti-Semitism, the period we are living in is a time of great anxiety for so many people.…

pretty and cute cottage with a white picket fence in the mid-fall as golden leaves are falling on the trees behind the house and on the lawn in front of the house

Our House Is a Very, Very Fine House

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 11, 2021

Yaakov is the first person in the Torah who articulates the idea of a house of God. “This is nothing other,” he says upon waking up, “than the house of God and this is the gate to heaven” (Gen. 28:17). The Rabbis point out the power of that concept of a house of God and its association with Yaakov.…

ancient well ruins in a desert underneath blue sky with a few puffy white clouds

In Praise of Yitzchak

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 4, 2021

Who was Yitzchak? What was his life about, and what was the lasting legacy that he left for future generations? The first verse of Parshat Toldot contains the answer: “These are the generations of Yitzchak, the son of Avraham: Avraham fathered Yitzchak” (Gen.…

abraham's servant approaching rebecca at the well in a renaissance-era painting

Was Rivka a Feminist?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on October 28, 2021

That question is, of course, anachronistic. A close reading of this week’s parsha and later parashot, however, reveals that Rivka’s marriage to Yitzchak—as well as Rachel and Leah’s marriages to Yaakov, and most likely Sarah’s marriage to Avraham—brought into the Jewish family a woman’s voice and role that might otherwise have been absent.…