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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

The Bones we Carry

by Rabbi Eliezer Lawrence
Posted on February 2, 2023

I walk through the world with the bones of my ancestors. I carry in my bones the stories—the life, the love, the death, the values of those who came before—so many of whom I never met. When we have a relationship with ancestry, we begin to encounter the expansiveness of History, of God, and to realize that we are but a character in a larger intergenerational story.…

The First Mitzvah Given in Egypt Wasn’t What You Think

by Rabbi Dan Margulies
Posted on January 26, 2023

There is a well known and much discussed idea that the first mitzvah that Bnei Yisrael were commanded upon the Exodus from Egypt was the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh. This is based on a pasuk in this week’s parsha: “הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים” (Ex.…

How Many Expressions of Divine Redemption?

by Rabbi Dan Margulies
Posted on January 19, 2023

The beginning of Va’era includes a passage familiar to many, which includes the four leshonot of geulah, four expressions of divine redemptive power. This is the source for the idea that we should have four cups of wine or grape juice at the Pesach seder, corresponding to each of the four steps of the progression of God’s taking us out of slavery in Egypt (Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1).…

One Shoe, Two Shoe

by Rabbi Dan Margulies
Posted on January 13, 2023

In this week’s parsha Shemot, we are introduced to Moshe Rabbeinu, the greatest leader, the greatest prophet ever to serve the Jewish people. The selection of Moshe Rabbeinu and the beginning of his journey as the leader of the Israelite nation becomes a chance to explore questions related to what makes Moshe such a qualified leader and what lessons about leadership we can learn from his behavior.…

Rise Like a Lion

by Rabbi Dan Margulies
Posted on January 5, 2023

I am a high school teacher. One challenge I face in my working with teenagers is the difficulty that many of them have waking up in the morning and getting started with their day: tefilla, their studies, and so forth. It is something that is not unique to teenagers.…

Selfishness vs Selflessness

by Rabbi Joel Dinin
Posted on December 29, 2022

Let us step back for a moment to a previous parsha, Vayeshev. After losing two sons who were meant to have children with Tamar, Yehuda was concerned about losing a third. The fates of his eldest sons, Er and Onan, were brought on by their own wickedness, yet Tamar was the one who was punished—Yehuda’s selfishness, founded on self preservation, led to Tamar being denied children and a family, just as Yehuda’s actions nearly denied children and a family to Yosef and in many ways denied Yaakov his most beloved son.…

What’s in a Name?

by Rabbi Joel Dinin
Posted on December 22, 2022

I have many names; Joel, rabbi, daddy, sweetie, “Hey you get out of my way”—But which one of these is my real name? The simple answer is—all of them, but how can that be true? A name is NOT who we are, it’s what we do in our connections with other people.…

Struggles & Leadership

by Rabbi Joel Dinin
Posted on December 15, 2022

The tale of Yoseph in this week’s parsha, Vayeishev, includes elements of tragedy, redemption and ultimately triumph. His envious brothers, rather than kill him in anger, are convinced to sell him as a slave, leading him to Egypt. Only through a miracle of God, his gift to interpret dreams, is he saved and made great in the eyes of the whole nation.…

Who’s Fighting in YOUR corner?

by Rabbi Joel Dinin
Posted on December 8, 2022

In this week’s parsha, Vayishlach, Yaakov is scared, afraid. He is vulnerable. He is running from his brother Esav, even though he is the one who brought this situation on himself. Yaakov has sent his family away, not sure that he is ever going to see them again.…

Truth and Oneness

by Raffi Levi
Posted on December 1, 2022

Is it possible that Truth is different in different settings? Or is Truth always only one thing? (Or, can both of these be true?)  The Rabbis say “elu v’elu divrei Elokim chaim”—that these and those are the words of a living God.…

Planting Seeds of Light

by Raffi Levi
Posted on November 22, 2022

What is Judaism’s take on the goal of spiritual living? Importantly, what is the essential realization we need in order to live with sacredness? In this week’s parsha, after Yitzchak struggles to survive a famine and risks his life by visiting the king Avimelekh, he comes home and decides… to plant!…

Sarah: Living Her Best Life

by Raffi Levi
Posted on November 17, 2022

How can we make our religious experience sustainable? In other words, how do we maintain a sense of connection with HaShem even when we are not doing a mitzvah? Often, our experience of Judaism can feel reserved. Whether it is reserved for the Shabbat table, for holidays, for the synagogue, or for prayer.…