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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

Engagement, Not Estrangement

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 22, 2021

What does it mean to live a holy life? Kedoshim opens with the words “קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י – You shall become holy because I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). The idea of holiness could–and has–been interpreted to mean that one should separate herself from this world, just as God is elevated above and fully separate from this world.…

Sending the Sick Outside the Camp

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 15, 2021

Who are our modern-day metzoraim, the people who are pushed outside of normal society and keep distant and hidden from everyone else?  The metzora is not a leper, but he is much like one. He has a serious skin disease and is sent outside of the Israelite camp, in an area that would eventually become outside of the city walls of the Land of Israel.…

Religious Life and/or Halakha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 8, 2021

What is the place of religious passion in the life that is dedicated to halakha? After eight days of sanctifying and inaugurating the Mishkan, a fire comes out from heaven and consumes the final sacrifices of the inauguration. The people are so overwhelmed by religious feeling that they bow down and prostrate themselves.…

Passover 5781: What Story Are We Telling?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 24, 2021

Dear Friends, I want us to ask ourselves a simple question: What is the story that we will be telling? The central mitzvah of Pesach night is maggid, to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. In many of our homes on Seder night, we will have spirited discussions and debates as we attempt to be doresh – to engage in the story, to bring our personal lens to it, exploring its meaning and relevance to us today.…

Smelling Good…

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 19, 2021

“The priest shall bring it all, and burn it upon the altar: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet savor unto the Lord” (Vayikra, 1:13). We are told eight times in this week’s parasha that the sacrifices are a “sweet savor” to God. …

It Arises Miraculously (From Our Efforts)

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 12, 2021

When we work together as a group — collaboratively, and with a single goal and a shared mission in front of our eyes, something miraculous occurs. When God commanded the building of the Mishkan in Terumah, the words we heard over and over again were “ve-asita – you shall make,” and “ve-asu – you shall do”.…

Worshipping God with the Physical

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 4, 2021

What was the sin of the golden calf and why does it matter to us today?  The commentators are divided as to the nature of the sin. For some, the golden calf was the worship of a new god, a rejection of the God who redeemed them from Egypt.…

Does God Play Dice with the Universe? Games of Chance and the Theology of Purim

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on February 25, 2021

Rabbi Yair Bacharach (1639-1702), one of the most important German halakhic decisions of the premodern era and author of the responsa, Chavot Yair, was a student of Rabbi Mendel Bass, (who was himself the student of Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, the Ba”Ch).…

Can a Person Write a Megillah in English? – Purim, Unity, and Diversity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 25, 2021

We know that a sefer Torah must be written in Hebrew. But what about a Megillah? The answer to this question is rooted in how we look at Purim. Is Purim a holiday of unity or one of diversity? The theme at the end of the Megillah is one of unity.…

Why is the Temple Not a Golden Calf?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 18, 2021

What’s the difference between the making of the egel ha’zahav (golden calf) and the building of the mishkan (the Tabernacle)?  When it comes to the building of the Temple, our Rabbis teach that God is not primarily to be found on the mountaintop, where Avraham encountered God.…

If the Medium Is the Message, What’s the Message?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 11, 2021

When the Children of Israel stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they famously declared “נַעֲשֶׂ֥ה וְנִשְׁמָֽע – na’aseh ve’nishma – We will do and we will listen.” (Exodus 24:7). This phrase appears at the end of parshat Mishpatim, after all the laws that followed the Ten Commandments.…

The Discernment of Outsiders

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 4, 2021

Can someone from the outside see better than those on the inside? The word that introduces and is the catalyst for Yitro’s advice to Moshe is va’yar, to see -. “וַיַּרְא חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה – Moshe’s father-in-law saw.” (Exodus 18:14) This seeing is not merely observing.…