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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

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.…

What’s Wrong with a Corporeal God?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 9, 2016

The idea that plain matter can be imbued with divine essence is a fundamentally dangerous doctrine according to the Torah. It leads to the fallacy that matter, and particularly humans can speak with the divine voice. This is problematic both from a practical and a theological point of view.…

All that Glitters…

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 9, 2016

The building of the Mishkan naturally raises the question of why God needs all that gold and silver. What happened to מזבח אדמה תעשו לי? And if God doesn’t need it, is it to address a human need? And if that is true, why is there so little “splendor” in our בתי כנסת today?…

Whose Religion is this?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 9, 2016

It is a truism among us that keeping the Halakha is synonymous with doing God’s will. However, our sources provide a strong argument that this is not always the case. Some sources (like the Grand Inquisitor) suggest that God’s will should trump rabbinic authority.…

The Demands and Limits of Honoring Your Parents

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 9, 2016

The following sources relate to the story of Joseph in Parashat Vayigash, and compare his actions to what we know about the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents. Ramban, Bereshit, ch. 42 יש לתמוה אחר שעמד יוסף במצרים ימים רבים והיה פקיד ונגיד בבית שר גדול במצרים, איך לא שלח כתב אחד לאביו להודיעו ולנחמו, כי מצרים קרוב לחברון כששה ימים, ואילו היה מהלך שנה היה ראוי להודיעו לכבוד אביו… It is astonishing: after Joseph lived in Egypt for many days, and was an officer and a ruler in the house of a great Prince of Egypt, how is that he didn’t send a message to his father to tell him and to console him.…

Deception and Connection: Why Do We Deceive Those We Love?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 7, 2016

Jewish values oppose lying, deception, and dishonesty as a rule. And yet there are some moments, when they are acceptable and maybe even preferable to the truth. It is obvious that we should not participate in dishonesty that causes damage to others, and even dishonesty that really has no negative consequences should be avoided.…

What Does It Take to Make a Match?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff Posted on September 7, 2016

There is a need in our community for a review of the criteria we use in selecting mates (values and personal traits rather than aesthetic and material concerns). In addition there is a need to reemphasize that making the choice is not enough- there is tremendous work that still needs to go into a marriage and that very work is the source of the love between the partners.…