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Jewish Holidays

Yizkor in Halacha and Hashkafa

October 3, 2019, by

For many people, including many who are otherwise not observant, Yizkor has become an indispensable part of their shul experience. Indeed, although Yizkor can halachically be said privately and without a minyan, it has become a major draw to the synagogue, especially on Yom Kippur. How is it permitted to conduct an ostensibly sad ceremony […]

The Physical, The Spiritual – The Balance

October 2, 2019, by

At our core is a seemingly contradictory duality, a duality that poses challenges and creates tensions in nearly every waking moment. We possess a physical nature, which we share with every other being that walks the earth, and we possess a spiritual nature, unique among creatures and one imbued with the dignity and divinity of […]

L’Dovid Hashem Ori: Forging Connections

October 2, 2019, by

Many years ago, before the common use of cell phones, I had the unfortunate experience of being trapped alone in a hotel elevator in Israel. Although the elevator was stuck for only a few moments, it felt like an eternity. Aside from the overwhelming fear that I experienced, the sense of complete isolation at not […]

We Are All Yonah

September 27, 2019, by

The dramatic story of Yonah being swallowed by a whale exhibits classic teshuva themes. An entire metropolis of Ninveh, condemned to death, ultimately rallies, repents and is spared. Both Jew and non-Jew alike possess G-d-given and unlimited freedom of choice rendering teshuva a universal experience. Ninveh’s last minute redemption also highlights that it is never […]

The Truth Behind the Mask

March 11, 2019, by

The whole world is a narrow bridge, but the essence, is not to be afraid – Rav Nachman of Breslav That the Ba’alei HaKabalah find mystical connections and meanings in things large and small is a credit to their insight and spirituality. Still, when they draw a direct connection between Purim and Yom Kippurim it feels […]

Avinu Malkeinu

November 13, 2018, by

אבינו מלכנו, החזירנו בתשובה שלמה לפניך Our Father, our King, return us to You in perfect repentance. ***** Avinu Malkeinu is one of our most prominent and most passionately and powerfully recited tefilos in these days of Aseres Y’mei T’shuvah.  In fact, the same is true during the very last moments of N’ilah, which is […]