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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah


Behar – The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – Can a Lender Charge the Borrower for the Opportunity Costs of a Loan?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 23, 2024

אַל־תִּקַּ֤ח מֵֽאִתּוֹ֙ נֶ֣שֶׁךְ וְתַרְבִּ֔ית וְיָרֵ֖אתָ מֵֽאֱ-לֹהֶ֑יךָ וְחֵ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ עִמָּֽךְ do not exact from him advance or accrued interest, but fear your God. Let him live by your side as your kinsman (Vayikra 25:36) QUESTION—Washington, D.C. One person wants to lend a large sum of money (short-term loan) to another.…

Parashat Behar: “My Faith, My Land, My Name”

by Rabbi Yehuda Hausman
Posted on May 23, 2024

And God spoke to Moses at Mt. Sinai saying: Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When you come into the Land that I give you, The Land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. (Vayikra 25.1-2) The opening verses of this week’s portion are like stage directions for a play.…

Living in Holy Time

by Rabbi Josh Pernick
Posted on May 10, 2023

From the very beginning, the Torah directs us to sanctify time. The first day in the Torah concludes “וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד—there was evening, there was morning, one day” (Gen 1:5). We are commanded in the first mitzvah given to our people as a nation “הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים” (Ex.…

Has our Relationship Lost its Sizzle?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 10, 2023

Republished from May 2014 In the blessings to be bestowed on the people if they follow God’s commandments and observe God’s laws—the rains will come in their appointed season, the land will bring forth its fruit, there will be peace in the land, and the people will be fruitful and multiply—it finishes with a bizarre verse “I will place my Tabernacle (mishkani) in your midst, and My soul will not abhor you” (Vayikra 26:11).…

Constructing Holy Space

by Jason Goldstein
Posted on May 19, 2022

After a long chapter that puts forth the details of Shemita and Yovel, the Torah concludes Parsha Behar with “You shall keep my Sabbaths and revere my Sanctuary” (Lev 26:2). While these are essential mitzvot, why does the Torah conclude its elucidation of the laws of Shemita with two unrelated commands?…

A Year of Shabbat or Shmitta? When Torah Mandates Conflict

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 7, 2021

What happens when Torah directives are in conflict with one another, particularly within the same mitzvah? The mitzvah of the shmitta year serves as a prime example of this conflict. When shmitta appears at the beginning of our parsha, it is referred to as a Shabbat.…

What Exactly is Our Responsibility to Immigrants?

by Rabbi Haggai Resnikoff
Posted on September 12, 2016

It seems clear from biblical sources that all resident aliens, whether legal or illegal, still receive the protections afforded to the גר. However, it is equally clear that גרים, whether legal or illegal, are considered second class citizens and not entitled to all of the protections of full citizens.…

Staying Close Infuses Life

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

In this parshat Behar’s prophetic portion, Jeremiah prophesied about the destruction of the First Temple. God commands Jeremiah to leave Jerusalem and travel to Anatot to buy a field from his cousin Chananel (Jeremiah 32). It can be suggested that when God told Jeremiah the Temple was doomed, Jeremiah clung on to the city.…

A Society that Embodies the Principles of Shabbat

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 2, 2013

This week, with the reading of Behar-Bichukotai, we end the book of Vayikra. The book of Vayikra is often thought of as devoted entirely to sacrifices or, a little more broadly, to the world of the kohanim – sacrifices and tumah vi’tahara, purity and impurity – and has thus also been called Torat Kohanim, the Torah of the Priests.…

A Dynamic Faith of Gratitude

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 18, 2012

Yom Yerushalayim and Shavuot are celebrated a week apart. These celebrations mark two tremendous gifts that have been bestowed upon us: the gift of a unified Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel and under Jewish control, that we received only 45 years ago, and the gift of the Torah, that we received over 3000 years ago.…

Behar – A Society Based on Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 15, 2011

How can kedusha be created outside of the Temple?  This is, in many ways, the concern of the second half of the book of Vayikra, and is in particular the concern of parshat Behar.   The goal of the Mikdash was not for God to “dwell” in the Temple, but for God to dwell among us: v’asu li mikdash, vi’shakhanti bi’tokham, “You shall make for me a Temple and I will dwell in their – the people’s – midst.”…