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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Shemot

Moshe’s Transformation: Empowering a Nation

by Rabbi Ezra Seligsohn
Posted on March 3, 2022

What does it feel like to give responsibilities to others? To cede control over a project? In this week’s Parasha, Pekudei, the Mishkan is completed. What becomes clear from a close read of the Pesukim is how nervous Moshe was about the project and, ultimately, how surprised, satisfied, and impressed he was with the work of Betzalel and the craftsmen and builders of the Mishkan.…

Absence of Fire

by Rabbi Ezra Seligsohn
Posted on February 24, 2022

Shabbat shalom. I wanted to talk with you this week about fire. In the beginning of this week’s parsha, Moshe gathers the people and teaches them about Shabbat. “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day, you shall rest” (Ex.…

Breaking Our Tablets

by Gabriel Greenberg
Posted on February 17, 2022

In this week’s parsha Ki Tisa, Moshe received the two tablets which contain the Ten Commandments. When he  came down and saw the people dancing in front of the golden calf, he smashed those two tablets. This prompts God at the beginning of Exodus Chapter 34 to tell Moshe to “carve two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, ‘asher shibarta’, which you shattered (Ex.…

Response to Failure

by Gabriel Greenberg
Posted on February 10, 2022

As a parent or an educator, there is a challenge which can come up routinely. When our child or our student misbehaves, what should we do?  There are different strategies and approaches that one can take. One can be critical. One can get upset.…

Planting Seeds for the Next Generation

by Gabriel Greenberg
Posted on February 3, 2022

Shalom. This is Gabe Greenberg again, Rabbi and Executive Director of Penn Hillel. I’m excited to be learning Parshat Terumah with you this week. In the Hillel world, we ask a very fundamental question. Given that we have access to our Jewish students for just a four-year window in their young adulthood, what do we want to teach them?…

Thrown to the Dogs: Can One Act So Badly That the Rules Don’t Apply to Them?

by Gabriel Greenberg
Posted on January 27, 2022

Friends, it has been my true privilege these many years to share with you my thoughts on the parsha, both in written form and more recently as videos. Now the time has come to pass the baton over to our amazing rabbis in the field.…

What does memory have to do with belief in God?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 21, 2022

For some people, belief comes easily. From a young age they have believed in God, and that has remained a constant throughout their lives. For others, not so much. There are those who have always struggled with belief. There are those who believed in God in the past, but now find that they have serious doubts and questions and that belief eludes them. …

Fire in the Bronx and the Pillar of Fire

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 14, 2022

I had the privilege the other night to be at a vigil in the Bronx held opposite the building where the recent terrible tragedy occurred, the raging fire that claimed the lives of 19 souls, many of whom were children. What was remarkable that evening was how many of the speakers referenced God: “God is with us,” “God loves us,” “God loves the children.”…

Sputtering Redemption

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 7, 2022

There are striking parallels between the actions that the Israelites took to protect themselves against the Plague of the Firstborn and the actions that we took, beginning close to two years ago, to protect ourselves against our plague – the coronavirus pandemic. …

two diverging paths in a park with tall green trees and green grass. cloudy sky. like a fairybook. ethereal quality.

When Teshuvah Seems Impossible

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 30, 2021

Is it sometimes not possible to do teshuvah?  Or at least, can it feel that way? Many commentators have noted that initially it is not God who hardens Pharaoh’s heart in the Exodus story. It is Pharaoh himself: “When Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and listened not unto them” (Ex.…

Anti-Semitism and Othering

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 23, 2021

The book of Shemot opens with the first phenomenon of anti-Semitism that we find in the Torah. It is not hatred directed at an individual, but to an entire people.  It begins with Pharoah. He says to his fellow Egyptians that the Hebrews are a people to be feared: “Behold, the people are more numerous than us.…

Moving from the Real to the Ideal Copy

In the Time of Coronavirus

The Torah commands us in the laws of Shmita for the first time in Shemot 23:11: “And six years you shall sow thy land, and shall gather in the fruits thereof. But the seventh year you shall relinquish it; that the poor of your people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat.…