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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Category: Sefer Vayikra

Holy Imperfection

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 5, 2016

Acharei-Mot details the special avodah, the sacrificial rites, that the High Priest performed on Yom Kippur to affect atonement for the Jewish people. However, as the Vilna Gaon noted in Kol Eliyahu, the Torah only introduces the connection to Yom Kippur at the very end of the lengthy description of this special avodah.…

Labels Are for Grocery Items, Not People

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 14, 2016

Parashat Metzorah continues to detail the laws of tumah, impurity, that can occur to people and that would require them to maintain their distance from the Mishkan. The parasha opens with the case of the metzorah, the person afflicted with the skin disease of tzara’at, and how he is to become pure: “This shall be the law of the metzorah, the skin-diseased person, on the day of his becoming pure” (Vayikra 14:2).…

Are Patients Still People?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 7, 2016

The Torah spends a great deal of time addressing the phenomenon of tzara’at, spots on the skin that can render a person ritually impure. A person with such a spot needs to have it inspected by a kohen to determine if it is indeed tzara’at, and if it meets certain criteria, the kohen will declare the person impure.…

Have You Done Your Korban Pesach Yet?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 1, 2016

Parashat Parah commemorates the process of purification that would precede the bringing of the korban Pesach. Appropriately, sometimes we read it at the end of Parashat Shmini, which describes how, after the completion of the dedication of the altar, the sacrifices would henceforth be desired and received in Heaven: “And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces” (Vayikra 9:24).…

Reading God in the Megillah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 23, 2016

We often speak of the clergy as “klei kodesh,” literally, “holy vessels.” There is something beautiful about this as it allows us to see them as vessels for connecting with God. But at the same time, there is something dehumanizing about this label.…

Sacrifices? What Sense Does that Make?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 17, 2016

The second half of the book of Shemot focused on creating the Mishkan as a Sanctuary in which God Godself could dwell among the Children of Israel. In contrast, the book of Vayikra focuses on what is done in that Sanctuary: first and foremost, the bringing of sacrifices. …

A Relationship Strained, Not Broken

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 13, 2015

We finish our reading of Vayikra with the “blessings and the curses”: the rewards for keeping the laws and commandments and the punishments for breaking them. This section, coming as it does at the end of Vayikra, is clearly intended as a coda to what preceded it.…

The Kedusha of Kohanim and Torah in the Bathroom

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on May 6, 2015

Parashat Emor opens with the prohibition against a Kohen coming into contact with a corpse, which would make him impure due to his special kedusha, his priestly sanctity. Such impurity would compromise his kedusha and keep him out of the Temple.…

Two Types of Kedusha

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 29, 2015

Parashat Acharei Mot-Kedoshim represents the transition from the first half of Vayikra to the second. The first half is focused solely on the Temple, its holiness and the sacrifices conducted therein. Tazria-Metzorah, the previous double parasha, continued this theme, detailing the various ritual impurities, the tumot, that would require a person to be sent out of the camp and prevent his or her access to the Temple.…

A Tzara’at Survivor

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 22, 2015

The double parasha Tazria-Metzorah details the laws of tumah, any impurity that would require people to maintain their distance from the Mishkan. The primary focus is on the metzorah, a person afflicted with the skin disease tzara’at, and how he is to become pure. …

The Danger of Unbridled Religious Passion

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on April 16, 2015

After many months of construction – and many parshiyot devoted to its narrative – the Mishkan is finally dedicated and made operational in Parashat Shmini. On the eighth and final day of the inauguration, Moshe introduces the final series of sacrifices to the Children of Israel with the declaration that, if they are properly brought, “the Glory of the Lord will appear ” (Vayikra, 9:6).…

Pulling Back the Curtain

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on March 25, 2015

Vayikra began with a detailed list of the different sacrifices a person could bring and the laws pertaining to them. Somewhat surprisingly, the Torah seems to repeat itself in this week’s parasha, listing once again all the sacrifices and how they are to be brought.…