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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Torah

When God is Seen and Not Heard

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 18, 2011

After the climactic event of the akeida, the Torah turns its attention to more quotidian matters,  the death and burial of Sarah and the finding of a son for Yitzchak.  In this shift, and in this transition to the next generation, a number of the major characters move off the scene. …

“Let’s Not Forget Mamre”

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 11, 2011

In a parasha that contains the stories of the birth and binding of Yitzchak, and the overturning  of Sodom, I wish to write about a seemingly trivial point. The pasuk states (Breishit 18:1): וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א  And the LORD appeared unto him in the palace of Mamre Mamre, I believe, is the unsung hero in Vayeira. …

Chosenness with a Universalist Impulse, Universalism with a Focus on Family

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 4, 2011

After two failed attempts at directing humanity to a life of holiness and goodness, God, in Lekh Lekha, begins the grand experiment that will be the narrative of the entire Torah and the story of the People of Israel.   With the generations of Adam, God stepped back to see if human beings, having chosen to “know good and evil,” to think and choose for themselves, could choose for themselves a life of holiness. …

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.”…

Sacrifices, Teshuva and 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.”…

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.…