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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah


Va’era – The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – Praying with a Cross in the Room

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 10, 2024

כְּצֵאתִי אֶת הָעִיר אֶפְרֹשׂ אֶת כַּפַּי אֶל השם “As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord.” (Shemot 9:29). To read this post in Spanish, click here To read this post in French, click here QUESTION-Washington, D.C.…

Equal and Opposite: Leadership and Partnership

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on January 10, 2024

To read this post in Spanish, click here To read this post in French, click here Equal partnership, says the Gemara, is a recipe for disaster. When all the people in a group bear equal responsibility and hold equal power, nothing is accomplished.…

How Many Expressions of Divine Redemption?

by Rabbi Dan Margulies
Posted on January 19, 2023

The beginning of Va’era includes a passage familiar to many, which includes the four leshonot of geulah, four expressions of divine redemptive power. This is the source for the idea that we should have four cups of wine or grape juice at the Pesach seder, corresponding to each of the four steps of the progression of God’s taking us out of slavery in Egypt (Yerushalmi Pesachim 10:1).…

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.…

Speech in Exile

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on January 14, 2021

Moshe complains to God that since speaking to the Israelites things have only gotten worse. God tells Moshe to return to the people and tell them that God will redeem them from Egypt and take them to be God’s nation. The people, however, are deaf to this message due to their hard labor.…

Two (Or Three) Versions of the Plague of Blood (Hebrew)

by Dr. Leeor Gottlieb
Posted on October 27, 2016

The Divine Plan of the Ten Plagues

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

Although the plagues may seem like random punishments, they are actually a Divine plan to teach the Egyptians some fundamental lessons. Consider for example the first plague of water turning into blood. It can, as the Midrash points out, be seen as an attack on the Egyptian god, the Nile River.…

A Leader to (or of) the People?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted 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.…

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.…

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).…