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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah


Kindness & Faith

by Rabbi Ezra Seligsohn
Posted on December 27, 2023

To read this post in Spanish, click here To read this post in French, click here When thinking about the types of kindness in our world, we may be drawn to the little things: holding open a door for the next person, giving a few coins or bills for Tzedakah, making eye-contact and offering a genuine “thank you.”…

Vayechi -The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – May Medical Procedures be Performed on a Corpse?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 27, 2023

וַיְצַו יוֹסֵף אֶת עֲבָדָיו אֶת הָרֹפְאִים לַחֲנֹט אֶת אָבִיו וַיַּחַנְטוּ הָרֹפְאִים אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל: “And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.” (Breishit 50:2) To read this post in Spanish, click here To read this post in French, click here QUESTION-New York, NY A soon-to-be practical question: New York State requires that when hospital patients die with COVID-19 or influenza as a cause of death, the hospital must provide documentation of a nasopharyngeal swab from within the previous 14 days.…

Rise Like a Lion

by Rabbi Dan Margulies
Posted on January 5, 2023

I am a high school teacher. One challenge I face in my working with teenagers is the difficulty that many of them have waking up in the morning and getting started with their day: tefilla, their studies, and so forth. It is something that is not unique to teenagers.…

The Last Kindness

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 17, 2021

Jacob is sick and believes that he is about to die. Eager to ensure that he will be buried in the land of Canaan, he calls Joseph to his bedside and asks him for one final favor: “Do for me chesed ve-emet, kindness and truth.…

old hands; black and white hands; holding hands

Preparing for Our Final Moments

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 24, 2020

How can we leave behind a blessing once we are gone? “Va’yechi” – and he lived. Yaakov has come to the fullness of his life and knows that he will soon die. He calls Yosef to his bedside and broaches a subject that maybe Yosef would have preferred to avoid – his death, and the burial arrangements that must follow.…

The Mitzvah to Plan for the Future

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 8, 2020

  What does the Torah have to say about a person making concrete plans for the eventuality of her death? Is it appropriate to sign a health care proxy or to make out a will? There is no better example than our patriarch, Jacob.…

For Real This Time, What’s the Story With Christmas Gifts?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 28, 2017

So what is the story with Christmas gifts and office Christmas parties? Last week we saw that the Talmud draws a number of red lines to ensure that our active involvement in the surrounding society does not lead us into religiously problematic areas.…

The Unique Character of the Grandparent Relationship

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

Notified that his father Yaakov (Jacob) is sick, Yosef (Joseph) takes his sons Ephraim and Menashe to see their grandfather. As they enter, Yaakov proclaims “mi eileh?” “Who are these?” (Genesis 48:8). Having already been in Egypt for 17 years, is it possible that Yaakov didn’t know the identity of his grandsons?…

Change. Yes We Can?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 24, 2015

What is the interplay between character, fate, and free will? How much does the character that one is born with determine whether he or she will be good or evil? Is it ever possible to change who we are, our essential character, and if not, can we at least find a way to rise above our natural shortcomings?…

You Call This a Blessing?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 31, 2014

As Yaakov’s life draws to a close, he calls his children to his bedside and blesses them. In twenty-six verses of beautiful poetry he addresses each son in turn, tailoring his words to what is most appropriate for that particular son. …

A Thought on the Parsha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 28, 2012

I’d like to share with all of you a slightly edited version of a beautiful piece written by my wife, Devorah Zlochower, and delivered by her as the Shabbat Sermon when she served as Scholar-in-Residence at the Young Israel of Hillcrest in 2009.…

Character, Fate, and Free Will

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 17, 2010

In previous few parshiyot we have been exploring the character of the different protagonists in Breishit – Yaakov, Reuven, Yosef, and Yehuda. In this week’s parsha, VaYechi, which brings a close to the Yosef story and to the book of Breishit, we have an opportunity to explore the interplay between character, fate, and free will.…