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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

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.…

Labels Are for Grocery Items, Not People

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 14, 2016

Parashat Metzorah continues to detail the laws of tumah, impurity, that can occur to people and that would require them to maintain their distance from the Mishkan. The parasha opens with the case of the metzorah, the person afflicted with the skin disease of tzara’at, and how he is to become pure: “This shall be the law of the metzorah, the skin-diseased person, on the day of his becoming pure” (Vayikra 14:2).…

Are Patients Still People?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 7, 2016

The Torah spends a great deal of time addressing the phenomenon of tzara’at, spots on the skin that can render a person ritually impure. A person with such a spot needs to have it inspected by a kohen to determine if it is indeed tzara’at, and if it meets certain criteria, the kohen will declare the person impure.…

Have You Done Your Korban Pesach Yet?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 1, 2016

Parashat Parah commemorates the process of purification that would precede the bringing of the korban Pesach. Appropriately, sometimes we read it at the end of Parashat Shmini, which describes how, after the completion of the dedication of the altar, the sacrifices would henceforth be desired and received in Heaven: “And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces” (Vayikra 9:24).…

Reading God in the Megillah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 23, 2016

We often speak of the clergy as “klei kodesh,” literally, “holy vessels.” There is something beautiful about this as it allows us to see them as vessels for connecting with God. But at the same time, there is something dehumanizing about this label.…

Sacrifices? What Sense Does that Make?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 17, 2016

The second half of the book of Shemot focused on creating the Mishkan as a Sanctuary in which God Godself could dwell among the Children of Israel. In contrast, the book of Vayikra focuses on what is done in that Sanctuary: first and foremost, the bringing of sacrifices. …

Building a Space for God – and for Us

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 10, 2016

The building of the Mishkan is finally completed as the book of Shemot draws to a close. This climax has been in the making for a long while; practically half of Shemot is devoted to the commands and building of the Mishkan.…