Holidays

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 […]

Torah Readings On Yom Kippur

June 29, 2006, by

On the morning of Yom Kippur, two Torah Scrolls are removed from the Aron HaKodesh (Holy Ark). The Torah Reading is from Vayikrah (Leviticus) Chapter 16, verse 1-34. This portion discusses the instructions to Moshe and Aharon concerning the procedure for the priestly service on Yom Kippur, which would enable them to achieve atonement for […]

The High Priest’s Temple Service

June 29, 2006, by

“And the Kohanim and the people standing in the Courtyard – when they would hear the glorious, awesome Name, the Ineffable one, emanating from the Kohen Gadol’s mouth, in holiness and purity, they would kneel and prostrate themselves, give thanks and say, ‘Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity.’” In the […]