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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Devarim

Each One of Us Is Like the Tree of the Field

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

The Torah’s sympathetic attitude toward ecology surfaces in a law legislating conduct during war. Parshat Shoftim says: “When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it, to seize it, do not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them, for from it you will eat and you shall not cut it down.”…

To What Can the Love Between God and His People Be Compared

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

  The love between God and His people is often compared to the marital relationship. So the prophet Hoshea describes God, declaring: “And I will betroth you to Me forever” (Hoshea 2:21). The Song of Songs is similarly viewed as an allegory for the relationship between God and Am Yisrael (the Jewish people).…

A Living Covenant of Torah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 9, 2015

Parashat Netzavim opens with a gathering together of all the people of Israel to enter into a covenant with God. The Torah goes out of its way to make it clear that every single person is present and accounted for: You stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and your stranger that is in your camp, from the hewer of your wood unto the drawer of your water.…

Mixed Blessings?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 2, 2015

In the middle of the extended section on the calamities and curses that will befall the Israelites if they fail to observe the mitzvot, we find a curious set of verses: Because you served not the Lord your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shall you serve your enemies which the Lord shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things (Devarim, 28:47-48).…

When Does Less Become More?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 12, 2015

Twice in the book of Devarim, Moshe warns the people to keep the totality of the Torah, not adding to or detracting from it. In Parashat Re’eh we read, “Whatsoever I command you, that thing you shall observe to do; you shall not add to it, nor diminish from it” (13:1), echoing a parallel prohibition in Parashat Va’Etchanan (Devarim, 4:2).…

The Ger, Inclusion, and True Religiosity

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 5, 2015

Recent events in Israel force us all to question what true religiosity means. Is it measured by the degree to which we separate ourselves from larger society, by the stringencies we adopt, or by how fervently we pray? Or does how we treat other human beings, how we relate to those at the margins, play a large part in how we measure it?…

Why Do We Fast?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 30, 2015

Why do we fast? The general understanding is that it acts as a spur for teshuvah, repentance. This explanation works for the fast days examined in the Talmudic tractate of Ta’anit – fasting during times of drought, locust, and the like – but what about the fast days that commemorate tragic historical events?…

When Does the Oral Torah Begin?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 22, 2015

What happens when we repeat a story or lesson in our own words? Does it improve with the retelling, or does it worsen? Is the message lost, or is it made more relevant? What is the point of retelling? Why not repeat things verbatim?…

A Torat Emet and a Torat Chaim

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 5, 2014

Ki Teitze is a parasha densely packed with mitzvot. 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. Should determining this be done only through technical and formal rules, or do values and underlying principles play a role?…

Can We Tolerate Dissent? Can We Not?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 29, 2014

One of the primary institutions needed for the well running of society is its legal system, both the laws proper, and the bodies to adjudicate and enforce those laws. For those about to enter the Land of Israel, the substance of the laws is no less than all the mitzvot of the Torah.…

The Triumph of Hope Over Experience

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 14, 2012

Can a relationship survive after one of the parties has gone astray, has been unfaithful, or has just constantly failed to keep up his end, his responsibilities?  Parashat Nitzavim and Parashat Bechukotai offer two different answers to this question. Both Nitzavim and Bechukotai describe the aftermath of Israel’s sinning against God, and of their having suffered and been punished as a result.…

Keeping the Relationship Alive

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on September 7, 2012

How do we keep a relationship alive?  It starts with not taking the other person for granted, with regularly appreciating what that other person gives to you, what he or she means to you. We must also give expression to them through our words and through our actions, so that these feelings become real for the other person and real for us.  …