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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

The Gift of Opportunity is Not Limitless

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

A glimpse at the narrative in the book of Numbers reveals an almost parallel pattern of events to that which occurred to the Jews after their leaving Egypt. In Numbers, the Jews began to murmur that they did not have meat to eat (Numbers 11:4).…

The Makings of a Successful Rabbi

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

From the time that Moshe (Moses) comes on the scene, he is under attack. As he breaks up a fight between Jews while still in Egypt, one turns to him and says, “who made you a ruler and judge over us?”…

Keeping The Ego In Check

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

In parshat Chukat Moses is told that he would not enter Israel because he hit the rock instead of speaking to it. Immediately afterwards, Moses sends a delegation to Edom asking that the Jewish people be allowed to go through his territory on their way to Israel (Numbers 20:14).…

The Power of Love To Conquer Hatred

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

Could it be that Bilaam, the gentile prophet, saddled his own animal when he set forth to curse the Jews? (Numbers 22:21). For someone of his stature, a prophet, it certainly seems beneath his dignity. Ibn Ezra, who is known for his literal readings of the Torah goes against his usual trend and offers a non-literal interpretation.…

The Importance of the Land of Israel

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

Over and over the portion of Ekev emphasizes the importance of inheriting the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 8:1, 9:1). Why is Israel so crucial to our covenant with God? In the end, the goal of the Jewish people is to do our share to redeem the world.…

Adding and Subtracting From the Torah: The Rabbi’s Role in the Legal Process

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

The portion of Re’eh gives us a curious mitzvah. It tells us not to add or subtract to the commandments (Deuteronomy 13:1). This seems to go against the idea of the ongoing development of Jewish law on the part of the rabbis (See Deuteronomy 17:8-13).…

The Role of the Jewish King

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

Whether appointing a king is legally obligatory or not is a subject of great controversy. But whether it is or is not, the Torah recognizes that it is human nature that people will ask for leadership in the form of a king (Deuteronomy 17:14).…

The Challenge of Morality in the Face of War

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

“All is fair in love and war.” Not so in Judaism. In fact, the test of moral standards is not how one acts when things are peaceful, clear and smooth. Such instances do not by and large require moral strength. Rather the test of moral integrity truly presents itself when facing difficult situations.…

Anti-Zionism As A Cover for Anti-Semitism

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

Three covenants (brit) are mentioned in the Torah, the covenant of the pieces (Genesis 15), the covenant of Sinai (Exodus 19), and the covenant of our portion, which was made just prior to our entry into Israel (Deuteronomy 29). Truth be told, they each contribute to the making of the nation of Israel.…

Each of Us Has A Godly Spark

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

While some maintain that the human being is only physical form, the Torah, in one of its most important sentences, insists that every person is also created in the image of God – tzelem Elokim (Genesis 1:26,27). On the surface we see each others’ outward appearance, but if we look deeply, we ought to be able to perceive a little bit of God in our fellow human being.…

Our God and the God of Our Forefathers

by Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot
Posted on May 25, 2016

At the opening of our parsha, Abraham, our founding father, leaves his homeland and birthplace on the journey towards finding the promised land. In truth, however, this is not the first journey that the Torah has presented to us in relation to Abraham and his father.…

Hagar’s Place in Destiny

by Dr. Michelle Friedman, MD
Posted on May 25, 2016

How might we understand the Hagar narrative? We find the first Hagar episode in Lech Lecha, where she conceives Ishmael. Parshat Vayera swings between emotional highs and lows and is rich with lessons concerning how God’s children should properly parent their own offspring so that the legacy of creation is transmitted forward.…