Holidays

Yonah Q&A

June 29, 2006, by

Questions 1. Why do we read the Book of Yona on Yom Kippur? 2. How long was Yona inside the fish? 3. What did the sailors do when they saw their ship floundering in the storm? 4. In which well-known sea was Yona when he was inside the fish? 5. What did Yona do inside […]

Yom Kippur Q&A

June 29, 2006, by

Questions Passover commemorates the going out of Egypt. Shavuos commemorates the giving of the Torah. What historical event can Yom Kippur be said to commemorate? For what kinds of sins does Yom Kippur not atone? What should someone do if the person he wronged does not forgive him the first time? Why is the vidui […]

Exploring the Al-Chet Prayer

June 29, 2006, by

When one begins to look at the task of teshuva (repentance), it can be overwhelming. We’ve made so many mistakes this past year that it’s hard to know where to begin! Clearly, if we don’t have an excellent system for tackling this project, it will be very time consuming and draining. In Judaism we say […]

The ABCs of Yom Kippur

June 29, 2006, by

ANGEL FOR A DAY What are “angels?” Angels are completely spiritual beings, whose sole focus is to serve their Creator. On Yom Kippur, every Jew becomes like an angel. As the Maharal of Prague explains: “All of the mitzvot that God commanded us on [Yom Kippur] are designed to remove, as much as possible, a […]

Rav Shlomo Riskin on Yom Kippur

June 29, 2006, by

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the great white fast of the Jewish Year. And since there are also additional prohibitions on that day – no sexual relations, no anointing the body with oils, no bathing and no wearing of leather shoes– one might assume that Yom Kippur is basically a day of awe […]

Rav Avi Weiss on Yom Kippur ’58

June 29, 2006, by

Yom Kippur is a serious day. It can be argued that a spirit of joy should also prevail. An understanding of teshuvah (repentance) explains why. On a behavioral level, Maimonides writes that teshuvah involves “returning” to a situation in which one had previously failed, and not making the same mistake again. (Laws of Repentance, 2:1) […]

Breaking Heavenly Barriers

June 29, 2006, by

An interesting person in Jewish history was King Menashe — interesting, that is, in a negative sense. He was the son of King Chizkiahu, and one of his early acts was to kill his grandfather, the prophet Isaiah [see the drosha on Shabbos Shuva for some background]. This set the tone for his future actions, […]

Kol Nidrei Night

June 29, 2006, by

Recently I heard a remarkable story. During the Second World War, a German soldier was mortally wounded in battle, and as he fell, a priest rushed up to administer the last rites. With his remaining strength, the soldier pushed the priest’s cross away, and said: “Ich bin ein Jude!” [“I am a Jew!”] The priest […]

Yom Kippur Stories

June 29, 2006, by

An Interesting Halachic Ruling One Yom Kippur, the gabbai (synagogue beadle) told Rabbi Chaim Sandzer that a certain congregant, wealthy and miserly, had fainted from the fast and needed some water. Rabbi Sandzer said that he could have only spoonful of water. A few minutes later, the gabbai returned, saying the water had helped but […]

The Shofar of Elul and the Days of Awe

June 29, 2006, by

We did not blow the Shofar on the last day of Elul, the morning before Rosh HaShanah, in order to “confuse the Satan.” Perhaps this means that the Satan would think that “they’re finished blowing, and have nothing left for the Day of Judgment.” But we say “Ashrei HaAm Yod’ei Teruah!” “Fortunate is the People […]