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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Shemot

Even the Darkest Moments Contain Sparks of Home

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 21, 2016

The Biblical term for midnight, the time Moshe (Moses) says God will slay the first born, is ka-hazot ha-lailah (Exodus 11:4). Different interpretations are given for the prefix ka, which gives us the key as to the true meaning of this term.…

Everyone is Entitled to the Highest Level of Justice

by Rabbi Avi WeissPosted on May 19, 2016

Watching Moshe (Moses) judge the Jews from morning to night, Yitro (Jethro), Moshe’s father-in-law, offers sound advice. He tells Moshe that if you continue trying to judge everyone, you surely will wear away-it is too difficult a task. Yitro suggests that Moshe appoint other judges, who will share the burden.…

Building a Space for God – and for Us

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 10, 2016

The building of the Mishkan is finally completed as the book of Shemot draws to a close. This climax has been in the making for a long while; practically half of Shemot is devoted to the commands and building of the Mishkan.…

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on March 3, 2016

After the dramatic and potentially catastrophic events of the Golden Calf and the breaking of the Tablets, God’s wrath and Moshe’s prayer, God’s revelation of God’s Glory to Moshe, the re-giving of the Tablets, and the rays of light emanating from Moshe’s face, parashat Vayakhel returns to the disrupted narrative stream: the commanding and the building of the Mishkan. …

Names, Not Numbers

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 25, 2016

Over the course of two parshiyot, the Torah has described the construction of the Mishkan and the making of the priestly garments in great detail. Parashat Ki Tisa is introduced with a seemingly unrelated theme: a census of the people in which each person will pay a half-shekel.…

Do Clothes Make the Man?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 17, 2016

After completing the detailed description of the Mishkan and its furnishings in Terumah, the Torah turns to the priestly garments to be worn by Aharon and his sons in Tetzaveh. The two parshiyot open in very similar ways. In commanding the building of the Mishkan, the Torah also states the purpose it is meant to achieve: “And you shall make for Me a Sanctuary, and I shall dwell in your midst” (Shemot, 25:8).…

From Promise to Practice

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 11, 2016

During the events of the Giving of the Torah, the Children of Israel have been pretty passive. When asked for their assent to the Torah before and after it was given they responded, “We will do.” and they participated in a ceremony marking their covenant with God.…

Walking the Tightrope

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on February 4, 2016

Mishpatim has many, many laws. So many that one may be misled into believing that the entirety of one’s obligation as a Jew is halakha and mitzvah. However the end of the parasha makes it clear that all of these mitzvot occur in the context of a brit, a covenant: And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord … And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said na’aseh vi’nishma, will we do, and we will listen (Shemot, 24:4, 7).…

Time to Grow Up

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 28, 2016

When Bnei Yisrael receive the Torah, it is much more than a passive act; they actively enter into a brit, a covenant, with God. The brit preceded the giving of the commandments and was its framing (Shemot, 19:5-8): וְעַתָּ֗ה אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ בְּקֹלִ֔י וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֑י וִהְיִ֨יתֶם לִ֤י סְגֻלָּה֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים כִּי־לִ֖י כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ ו וְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ ז וַיָּבֹ֣א מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיִּקְרָ֖א לְזִקְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם וַיָּ֣שֶׂם לִפְנֵיהֶ֗ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּ֖הוּ ה׃ ח וַיַּעֲנ֨וּ כָל־הָעָ֤ם יַחְדָּו֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ כֹּ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר ה נַעֲשֶׂ֑ה וַיָּ֧שֶׁב מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הָעָ֖ם אֶל־ה׃ And now, if you will listen to My voice, and keep My covenant, then you shall be unto Me a treasured possession from all the nations…And Moshe came and called to the elders of the nation, and he placed before them all of these things that God had commanded him.…

Remind Me: What Are We Supposed to be Remembering?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 21, 2016

The story of Amalek is recorded twice in the Torah: once in Beshalach, and again at the end of Parashat Ki Teitzei in Devarim. In Beshalach, we are instructed to write a record of what Amalek did to us, but we are not commanded to actively remember the events.…

Speaking is Believing

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 13, 2016

The first mitzvah that the Children of Israel are given is that of sanctifying the new moon. “HaChodesh hazeh lachem rosh chadashim,” “this month, the month of Nissan, shall be for you the first of the months.” Why of all mitzvot was this one given first?…

A Leader to (or of) the People?

by Rabbi Dov LinzerPosted on January 7, 2016

There are two types of leaders. The first comes to the people with a vision, bringing a message from on high down to those whom they would lead. The second emerges from within the people; they have internalized the people’s deepest concerns and passions and can crystallize and articulate their inchoate longings.…