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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

How Humankind Became Adults: The Challenges of Knowing Good and Evil

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on October 28, 2011

It is just a few hundred years since the world has been created, and everything has gone to pot. When the world was freshly minted and created, we heard the refrain with each act of creation, “And God saw that it was good,” and that the world as a whole was “exceedingly good.” Now, humans have come and made a mess of everything, and a different refrain is heard: “And God saw that “massive was the evil of man on the earth, and all the thoughts of his heart were only evil the entire day.” (Breishit 6:5).…

Teshuva or Sacrifices – How to Repair our Relationship with God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 23, 2011

Parshat Nitzavim always falls immediately before Rosh HaShana, and appropriately so. For it is in this parasha that the Torah speaks at great length about the power of teshuva: “And you will return to the Lord your God and obey God’s voice… you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul” (Devarim 30:2).…

To Declare and To Confess

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 16, 2011

Ki Tavo opens with two rituals: the bringing of the first fruit, the bikkurim, where one declares his gratitude for God’s goodness, and the dispensing of the tithes at the end of three years where one states that he has dispensed these tithes according to the law.…

Mitzvot and their Interpretation: The Role of Values and Narrative

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on September 12, 2011

Ki Teitze is a parsha densely packed with mitzvot. A new mitzvah appears almost every few verses, and sometimes even more frequently. It is, in a way, the parshat Mishpatim or the parshat Kedoshim of Devarim. Now, of course, just because there are all these laws does not mean that it is always clear what their parameters are or how they are to be implemented.…

Travelling Forth with the Aron Semikha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 10, 2011

Reprinted from 2011 and dedicated in honor of this year’s 2018 semikha class of our amazing new rabbis travelling forth to serve Klal Yisrael! As the academic year ends, many of us will be beginning new chapters in our lives.  High school students preparing to go to Israel or college;  College students preparing to enter into the job world;  men  and women becoming lawyers, doctors, scientists, professors; and rabbinical students becoming rabbis. …

Selfish Kedusha and Selfless Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on June 2, 2011

After the organizing of the camp  with the mishkan at its center – the focus on parshat Bamidbar, this parsha focuses on what it means to be outside the mishkan, to be in the camp, and to continue to orient oneself to God’s presence.…

Behar – A Society Based on Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on May 15, 2011

How can kedusha be created outside of the Temple?  This is, in many ways, the concern of the second half of the book of Vayikra, and is in particular the concern of parshat Behar.   The goal of the Mikdash was not for God to “dwell” in the Temple, but for God to dwell among us: v’asu li mikdash, vi’shakhanti bi’tokham, “You shall make for me a Temple and I will dwell in their – the people’s – midst.” (Shemot 25:8).  …

The Universality of the Mitzvah of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 29, 2011

The portion of Kedoshim opens with an all-embracing imperative: “Holy shall you be, for I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Lev. 19:2). The command to be holy is all-embracing in two senses: it applies to all people and it applies in all situations.…

The Person with Tzara’at and Objectification of the Other

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on April 1, 2011

In parshat Shmini, after the Mishkan was dedicated, the Kohanim were given the charge to “distinguish between the holy and the profane, and between the ritually impure and the pure” (Vayikra 10:11).  That is, they must protect the Mishkan from those who are ritually impure and thus they must know all the laws the pertain to ritual purity and impurity.…

Religious Passion, the Mikdash and the Temptation of Idolatry – Primary Sources

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 25, 2011

In connection with the recent posting on Parshat Shmini and the sin of Nadav and Avihu, I present these sources which speak to both sides of the tension between religious passion and boundaries, between the physicality of the Mikdash and religious experience and the temptation of idolatry.…

Tzav and Vayikra – Some Additional Thoughts

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 22, 2011

In another post we discussed the differences between Tzav and Vayikra, focusing on the order in which the korbanot are listed.    As a wrap-up of that discussion, here are some additional differences worth noting: Tzav’s discussion of the olah is very brief (6:1-6), without an enumeration of all the possible different animals.  …

Tzav – Two Perspectives on Korbanot

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 22, 2011

The beginning of parashat Tzav seems like almost an exact repeat of the beginning of parashat Vayikra.  Each parasha deals with the details and rituals of the different korbanot, and Tzav winds up seeming like merely a repeat of Vayikra. However, closer examination shows that while they deal with the same topics, they approach them from different perspectives. …