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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah


Toldot -The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – How to Compute Ma’aser Kesafim

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 16, 2023

וַיִּזְרַ֤ע יִצְחָק֙ בָּאָ֣רֶץ הַהִ֔וא וַיִּמְצָ֛א בַּשָּׁנָ֥ה הַהִ֖וא מֵאָ֣ה שְׁעָרִ֑ים וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֖הוּ ה‘. “Then Yitzchak sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.” (Gen. 26:12). Rashi – “Our Rabbis say that this measurement was for the sake of giving ma’aser.”…

Toldot 5784

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on November 16, 2023

As political and social discourse have become increasingly polarized across the world over the last several years, I have become polarized myself. Certain buzzwords will trigger an anger response in me, to the point where I find it impossible to trust in the goodwill or joint interests of people who, unapologetically, hold a position that is different from mine.…

Planting Seeds of Light

by Raffi Levi
Posted on November 22, 2022

What is Judaism’s take on the goal of spiritual living? Importantly, what is the essential realization we need in order to live with sacredness? In this week’s parsha, after Yitzchak struggles to survive a famine and risks his life by visiting the king Avimelekh, he comes home and decides… to plant!…

ancient well ruins in a desert underneath blue sky with a few puffy white clouds

In Praise of Yitzchak

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 4, 2021

Who was Yitzchak? What was his life about, and what was the lasting legacy that he left for future generations? The first verse of Parshat Toldot contains the answer: “These are the generations of Yitzchak, the son of Avraham: Avraham fathered Yitzchak” (Gen.…

Isaac digging wells

Are You a Seeker or a Dweller?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 19, 2020

Are you a seeker or a dweller? Scholars of religion have noted that religious people can be categorized as either seekers or dwellers. Seekers are the ones who are looking for G-d, meaning, and truth. They wonder about how religion’s messages and teachings can play out in their lives, and they look to bring a religious ethos into the world.…

Where Does Ma’aser Kesafim Come From, and What Can it Be Used For?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 26, 2019

Can I use my ma’aser kesafim, tithes from my income, to contribute to my synagogue’s building campaign, and can I use it to pay my shul’s membership dues? The idea of tithing is alluded to in this week’s parasha.  We are told that Yitzchak, “Sowed in that land and received in that year a hundredfold, and God blessed him” (Gen.…

Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There!

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 2, 2016

In many ways, Yitzchak’s life parallels that of Avraham.  He travels to a foreign land to avoid a famine where he then claims that his wife is his sister to prevent her abduction and is subsequently blessed with great wealth.  He renews the covenant that Avraham made with Avimelekh, affirming his role as Avraham’s heir. …

Why Jacob Needed Esau’s Blessing

by Rabbi Shalom Carmy
Posted on November 2, 2016

Maintaining Stability or Effecting Change?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 12, 2015

Finally, it looks like Yitzchak’s story will be the major theme of this parashat Toldot. Until now, Yitzchak has only played a part in other people’s stories: Avraham offering him up at the akeida and the servant finding him a fit wife.…

It’s Hard to Be a Yitzchak

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 1, 2013

Yitzchak had it rough. He was the son of a great man. His charismatic father, Avraham, spread God’s name throughout the land. He fought wars against mighty kings, he went from being a stranger and sojourner in Canaan to a “prince of God” known and revered by all.…

Staying the Course, but Not Repeating Past Mistakes

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 5, 2010

Another year, we explored the theme of Yitzchak’s life as a continuation and institutionalization of Avraham’s vision: Yitzchak could not go out of Canaan – he could not explore new vistas. He had to stay in Canaan and invest all of his energies in building, in establishing, in redigging the wells.…

Yitzchak: The Father of Continuity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on November 20, 2009

Yitzchak’s story is one of the major themes of parshat Toldot. Until now, the stories involving Yitzchak have really been stories of other people – Avraham offering up Yitzchak at the akeida, and Avraham’s servant finding a wife for Yitzchak. Now, finally, it is Yitzchak’s turn to write his own story, to have his own narrative.…