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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

Shabbat and Fair Trade Chocolate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 2021

The giving of the Ten Commandments was an earth-shattering, never-before-experienced event. God revealed Godself directly to the entire Israelite people. It was the most profound Divine-human encounter to have ever occurred, never again to be repeated in world history. But while the event itself was never repeated, the telling of that event most definitely was.…

The Connecting Gate

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 16, 2021

The Book of Devarim–also known as Deuteronomy–presents us with a paradox. This book is completely Moses’s words: It is his valedictory speech to the Israelites and at the same time the divine word of God. How can both of these things be true? …

Words Create Worlds

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 9, 2021

We all know that words can hurt and words can heal. This happens when our words are directed at others. But what about other contexts? The words we use may help us articulate our thoughts more or less clearly, or reflect our backgrounds or education.…

Use Your Words, Not Your Hands

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 1, 2021

Pinchas is synonymous with zealotry in the name of God. And that is scary. Throughout history, zealotry has led to violence: murderous attacks, lethal Crusades, and horrific acts of terror, all done in the name of God. Such actions have destroyed innumerous individuals, cultures, and communities, and have raised profound questions as to the morality and values of the religions that could promote such behavior.…

Believing is Seeing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 24, 2021

The rabbis tell us in Pirkei Avot (5:22) “Whoever has….an ayin tova, a good eye….is a student of Avraham; whoever has an ayin ra’ah, a bad eye….is a student of Balaam.” Avraham sees well, whereas Balaam sees poorly. How so? On the face of it, the stories of Avraham and Balaam are parallel.…

Can We Un-Stick Old Patterns?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 17, 2021

The transition into full adulthood, with its incumbent privileges and responsibilities, is often a long process. In recent years there has been increasing recognition of a stage of life between adolescence and adulthood; this stage has been called the “odyssey years.”…

Two Faces of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 10, 2021

The Torah emphasizes time and again that the Jewish people are holy. At their birth as a covenantal people at Mt. Sinai, God declares, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). In the beginning of Parshat Kedoshim, framing chapters dense with mitzvot, we read, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev.…

Where’s Our Mesirat Nefesh?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 3, 2021

As Modern Orthodox Jews, we espouse both serious Torah study and the pursuit of secular knowledge, all in the service of God. We have both feet firmly planted in the world of tradition and we are full members of broader American society.…

Is Inclusion a Jewish Value?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 27, 2021

Is inclusion a Jewish value? The answer seems obvious. God enjoins the Israelites, “You shall have one standard for stranger and citizen alike” (Leviticus 24:22). Those who might otherwise be at the margins of society are to be equal members. My wife, however, hates the word “inclusion.”…

Living with God in Our Midst

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 13, 2021

What does it mean to live with God in our midst? God commanded the Israelites in the wilderness to build the Tabernacle, “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell amongst them” (Exodus 25:8). Interestingly, the verse does not state that God shall dwell within “it,” the Tabernacle, but rather “amongst them,” the people.…

A Year of Shabbat or Shmitta? When Torah Mandates Conflict

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 7, 2021

What happens when Torah directives are in conflict with one another, particularly within the same mitzvah? The mitzvah of the shmitta year serves as a prime example of this conflict. When shmitta appears at the beginning of our parsha, it is referred to as a Shabbat.…

Family First

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 29, 2021

Does the Torah advocate or permit a person to sacrifice obligations to the family if he or she devotes himself or herself to serving God? This question comes up in the context of the giving of the Torah, which we are about to celebrate on Shavuot.…