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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

Standing Again at Sinai

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on October 10, 2016

In one of his last instructions to the children of Israel, Moshe commands the people in the mitzvah of hakhel, a public reading of the Torah to take place once every seven years.  All the people are to be present: “Gather the nation: the men, the women, and the children, and the stranger who is in your gates” (31:12). …

Does the Torah Make You Wise?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 6, 2016

It may seem odd to us that people would ask a rabbi who to marry or vote for, but the Torah, in fact, does have reference to all aspects of our lives and the experts in Torah may well have wisdom and advice to impart in all areas of our lives.…

What is a Halakhic Jewish Identity?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on October 6, 2016

Apart from the “Shema Yisra’el” with which we are so familiar, Parshat Va’etchanan has three other instances where we see similar instructions for Israel to listen. What do the Other Shema Yisraels have that our Shema doesn’t. Considering their emphasis, wouldn’t it be better to recite them twice daily rather than our Shema? …

To Lead, Perchance to Dream

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 29, 2016

In memory of Shimon Peres, z”l, 1923-2016 The people about to enter the Land of Israel are different than those who left Egypt a generation earlier. These people were born free from slavery and can face the future without fear. They have forged a deep and lasting relationship with God over forty years in the wilderness.…

The Seductions of Idolatry

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

Much of the book of Devarim is devoted to warning the people against being seduced by idolatry when they enter the land. It is often hard for us to appreciate why idolatry was such a temptation in the past. To better understand the attraction, we must look more closely at the metaphors and images the verses use in the exhortations against it.…

So, What’s the Story With… Christianity?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

Last week we explored how the Torah’s prohibitions against idolatry fall into two categories: 1) the belief in and worship of foreign gods and 2) the representation or worship of God through an image or any physical concretization. These recur throughout the book of Devarim in regular warnings against the seductions of idolatry, and we find them again in Parashat Eikev: The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.…

Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Lend Me Your Money

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

If asked which mitzvah obligates us to help the poor, we would immediately respond, “The mitzvah of tzedakah.” There’s only one problem: no such mitzvah exists in the Torah. Nowhere in the Torah does it say that if a poor person asks us for money, we must give it to him.…

What is the Basis for Rabbinic Authority?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

What is the basis for Rabbinic authority? Why do we follow the Talmud? Why is the Rabbis’ interpretation of Torah mitzvot binding on us? The Talmud tells us that the answer to some of these questions can be found in our parasha.…

A Rabbi and a Scientist Walk into a Room…

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 26, 2016

Can new discoveries in science and advances in technology bring about changes in halakha? The question is not whether halakha can address phenomena that did not exist in the time of the Talmud, such as electricity, surrogate motherhood, and organ transplants; that is the regular work of halakha.…

Making Meaning of the Ashes in Our Lives

by Rabbi Asher Lopatin Posted on September 23, 2016

Making Meaning of the Ashes in Our Lives Parshat Tzav   “This is the Torah of the sacrifice… let the priest where his cloth clothes…and lift the ashes that the fire creates… and place them near the altar.” (Leviticus 6:2-3). When we think of sacrifices and gifts to others, we think of important things: objects of beauty and value, gestures that sacrifice our time and money but show our love and concern for others. …

“And I Will Draw Water for Your Camels, Too!”

by Rabbi Asher Lopatin Posted on September 23, 2016

What an incredible scene: we meet Rebecca, the heir to the Hebraic dynasty, taking charge of her life and the life of all those around her, and the lives of all those who will be her descendants.  Rebecca is incredibly powerful and decisive, not leaving things to chance or happenstance. …

What Exactly is Our Responsibility to Immigrants?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 12, 2016

It seems clear from biblical sources that all resident aliens, whether legal or illegal, still receive the protections afforded to the גר. However, it is equally clear that גרים, whether legal or illegal, are considered second class citizens and not entitled to all of the protections of full citizens.…