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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

One Action Can Make All of the Difference

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

In this week’s portion, Moshe (Moses) gives to the tribe of Reuven, the tribe of Gad and half of the tribe of Menasseh the entire Kingdom of Og, ruler of Bashan (Numbers 32:33). Interestingly, just before Moshe and the Israelites conquered the land of Bashan, the Torah records that God tells Moshe “fear him [Og] not” (Numbers 21:34).…

The Value of Living in the Land of Israel

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

The portion of Masei includes the sentence that speaks to the commandment of living in Israel. The key phrase is “and you shall take possession of the land and dwell therein” (Numbers 33:53). Rashi is of the opinion that this sentence does not constitute a command to live in Israel.…

Each One of Us Is Like the Tree of the Field

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

The Torah’s sympathetic attitude toward ecology surfaces in a law legislating conduct during war. Parshat Shoftim says: “When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it, to seize it, do not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them, for from it you will eat and you shall not cut it down.”…

To What Can the Love Between God and His People Be Compared

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

  The love between God and His people is often compared to the marital relationship. So the prophet Hoshea describes God, declaring: “And I will betroth you to Me forever” (Hoshea 2:21). The Song of Songs is similarly viewed as an allegory for the relationship between God and Am Yisrael (the Jewish people).…

The Importance of the Planters of the Seeds of Greatness

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

November 4-5, 2011/ 8 Cheshvan 5772 Terah, Avraham’s (Abraham) father, is often viewed as an evil man and nothing more than an idol worshipper. A review of the text indicates otherwise. First of all, Terah’s son, Haran, dies during Terah’s lifetime.…

Every Relationship Contains Elements of Surprise

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

How is it possible that Yaakov (Jacob) didn’t know that he spent his wedding night with Leah rather than Rachel? The text says, “and it came to pass in the morning and behold it was Leah” (Genesis 29:25). Some commentators suggest that this reveals the extraordinary modesty of Yaakov and Leah-all through the night, they did not see or even speak to each other (Radak).…

Even the Darkest Moments Contain Sparks of Home

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

The Biblical term for midnight, the time Moshe (Moses) says God will slay the first born, is ka-hazot ha-lailah (Exodus 11:4). Different interpretations are given for the prefix ka, which gives us the key as to the true meaning of this term.…

A Hairsbreadth Can Be The Whole Difference

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

In parshat Vayikra, the Torah tells us that Aharon (Aaron) the High Priest, cast lots upon two goats, “one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel” (Leviticus 16:8). Rashi explains the procedure as follows: “One goat he (Aharon) placed on his right hand, the other on his left.…

Redeeming the Firstborn as an Opportunity for Spiritual Commitment

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 19, 2016

The Torah, in parshat Bamidbar, alludes to the redemption of the first born son (Numbers 3:40-51). Originally, the eldest son in each family was designated to serve in the Temple. After the eldest in the family faltered by participating in the sin of the golden calf, the Temple work was transferred to the tribe of Levi, which was not involved in the sin.…

The Enormous Importance of the Spiritual Consciousness

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 19, 2016

In this week’s parsha, God tells Moshe (Moses) that a person (ish) who is impure because of contact with a dead body (tameh lanefesh) or too far away from Jerusalem (derekh rehoka) is given a second chance to eat the paschal lamb (Numbers 9:10-11).…

Everyone is Entitled to the Highest Level of Justice

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 19, 2016

Watching Moshe (Moses) judge the Jews from morning to night, Yitro (Jethro), Moshe’s father-in-law, offers sound advice. He tells Moshe that if you continue trying to judge everyone, you surely will wear away-it is too difficult a task. Yitro suggests that Moshe appoint other judges, who will share the burden.…

Holy Imperfection

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 5, 2016

Acharei-Mot details the special avodah, the sacrificial rites, that the High Priest performed on Yom Kippur to affect atonement for the Jewish people. However, as the Vilna Gaon noted in Kol Eliyahu, the Torah only introduces the connection to Yom Kippur at the very end of the lengthy description of this special avodah.…