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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Shemot

“And They Believed in God and in Moshe, God’s Servant”

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 10, 2014

A dominant theme in Parashat Beshalach is that of emunah, belief – having it and losing it. That the Children of Israel should believe in God after witnessing the miracles and plagues in Egypt is to be expected. What is more of a question is how long that belief will last – will they continue to believe even when they are not experiencing miracles, and even when they are beset with hardship? …

Don’t Leave the People Behind

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 3, 2014

Nine plagues were proclaimed. Nine plagues befell Pharaoh and the Egyptians. With each passing plague, Pharaoh was one step closer to freeing the Children of Israel. Until this point, he had offered to release them all save the cattle. Even this Moshe refuses, and Pharaoh orders him out telling him never to return.…

What’s in a Name?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 27, 2013

Va’era opens with a powerful, yet quizzical, declaration – “And God spoke to Moshe and said to him: I am God. And I appeared to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov with El-Shaddai, but by my name God (YHVH) I was not known to them” (Shemot 6:3).…

A Bridegroom of Blood

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on December 20, 2013

At the crucial juncture between Moshe accepting the divine mission and his returning to the people and becoming their leader, a curious and perplexing event occurs. Moshe begins to head back to Egypt, and then, abruptly we read: “And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him” (4:24).…

A Thought On The Parsha 34

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 22, 2013

This Shabbat is Shabbat Parashat Zakhor when, as a lead up to Purim, we read about the mitzvah to remember Amalek: Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you came forth out of Egypt…. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies… that you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget it.…

Does the Torah Approve of Slavery?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 7, 2013

Does the Torah approve of slavery? Consider what Wikipedia says on the topic of Jews and Slavery: “Judaism’s religious texts contain numerous laws governing the ownership and treatment of slaves… Jews continued to own slaves during the 16th through 18th centuries, and ownership practices were still governed by Biblical and Talmudic laws.” And perhaps most troubling: “In the modern era, when the abolitionist movement sought to outlaw slavery, supporters of slavery used the laws to provide religious justification for the practice of slavery.” These statements are completely accurate.…

Knowing and Experiencing God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 18, 2013

“And in order that you should relate in the ears of your children and your children’s children how I have made a mockery of the Egyptians and my signs that I have placed upon them, and you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ex.…

A Thought on the Parsha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 3, 2013

“And you, go, and I will send you to Pharaoh, and you will take out my nation, the Children of Israel, from Egypt.” (Shemot 3:10). Moshe encounters God at the burning bush and he is commanded by God to be the person, the leader, who will take the people out of Egypt.…

How Covenant Frames Obligations

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on February 10, 2012

After crossing the Red Sea, seeing the drowning of the Egyptians, experiencing the first hardships of the desert, and receiving the quail and the manna from God, the Children of Israel have finally arrived at their first destination, Mt. Sinai. While the Land of Israel still awaits, their initial demand to leave Egypt was to worship God, and that worship takes place here, in the desert, at the foot of Har Sinai: “When you take this people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.” (Shemot 3:12).…

I’ve Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 13, 2012

The beginning of the book of Shemot sees the Children of Israel enslaved, oppressed, and at the risk of decimation.  The foundation for their salvation is laid in the birth of Moshe, his being saved by Pharaoh’s daughter, and his venturing out to see the affliction of his brothers.   …

Torah as a Way to Know God

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on January 1, 2012

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.  God commands for the building of a physical Mishkan to house the Glory of God enveloped in the cloud. …

Who Built the Mishkan?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer Posted on March 8, 2011

In the final verses of the book of Shemot we are told that “the Tabernacle (the Mishkan) was erected,” and that “Moshe erected the Mishkan.” The Midrash contrasts these two verses and describes what happened behind the scenes and who was really behind the construction of the Mishkan: Because when they had finished the Mishkan, none knew how to set it up.…