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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Shemot

Birthing a Nation

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on December 31, 2015

In an extended passage from the book of Yechezkel, the birth of the people of Israel is described through the vivid imagery of actual childbirth: And as for your birth, in the day you were born your navel was not cut, neither were you washed in water to make you supple … No eye pitied you … to have compassion upon you … but you were cast into the open field … on the day that you were born.…

To Carry the Names Before God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 25, 2015

The kohanim hold a lofty position among the Jewish people. They serve before God in the Beit HaMikdash, protecting the Temple and executing all its functions. They are a fixture in the Temple; when one enters, he or she expects to see the kohanim in their priestly service as much as the glorious structure and all the vessels it contains. …

Can God Dwell on Earth?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 19, 2015

Why did God command the People of Israel to build a Mishkan? The answer seems obvious: “They shall build Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in their midst” (Shemot, 25:8). The Mishkan, from the root sh’k’n, to dwell, was to be a place where mere mortals could feel God’s actual presence, a place in which God could dwell in the physical realm.…

The Ideal and the Real

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 11, 2015

The Torah commands us in the laws of Shmita for the first time in this week’s parasha: “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.…

To Do and To See

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 4, 2015

Having experienced the miraculous highs of the Exodus and the lows of their backsliding and grumbling, and having endured the challenges of hunger, thirst, and war, B’nei Yisrael are now on the verge of their journey’s climax. They are about to experience the fullness of the Divine revelation, to stand at Sinai and receive the Torah.…

Leap of Action

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 29, 2015

At the moment of the exodus from Egypt, the Torah presents us with a picture of a strong, empowered and confident people ready to take on all comers: “And the Children of Israel went out with an uplifted hand.” (14:8). And yet throughout our parasha the people demonstrate a very different character time and again: fearful, needy and dependent.…

Becoming a People of Faith

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 15, 2015

Moshe tells the children of Israel that he is coming as God’s messenger to take them out of the bondage of Egypt and to bring them to the land of Canaan. To Pharaoh, however, a different message is given: Send out the people for three days so that they can celebrate to God in the wilderness.…

Moshe and His Brothers

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 8, 2015

The beginning of the book of Shemot serves as a mirror image to the end of the book of Breishit. Breishit ends with Yosef’s promise to his brothers: “Behold, I will die; and God will surely remember – pakod yifkod – you, and bring you out of this land” (Breishit, 50:24).…

Pop Quiz: What’s Holier – Shabbat or the Beit haMikdash?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 21, 2014

Before entering into extensive detail about the making of the Mishkan, this week’s parasha opens with the mitzvah of Shabbat: And Moshe gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, these are the words which the Lord has commanded, that you should do them.…

More than a Mishkan, Less than a Golden Calf

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 14, 2014

How exactly can a finite human being, rooted in her physicality, connect to an infinite, non-physical God? This question is one that the Torah grapples with throughout the second half of the book of Shemot. The Mishkan delimits a place, a space, for the Divine presence to inhabit, and the Glory of God is a created thing which represents God’s presence, but not God Godself.…

Inclusion Doesn’t Happen by Accident

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on February 7, 2014

The lighting of the menorah opens our parasha: “Command the Children of Israel and they shall take to you pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn tamid, constantly.” (Shemot 27:20) The placement of these verses is curious, as the more appropriate place would have been in last week’s parasha, together with the making of the menorah.…

Just the People of the Book, Really?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 31, 2014

Reprinted from my article in this week’s Jerusalem Report The Judaism that most of us are are familiar with teaches that one’s religious expression, outside of the observance of mitzvot, is to be found in the intellectual realm of Torah study.…