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Jewish Holidays

The Four Steps of Repentance

June 30, 2006, by

Teshuvah (Return, or Repentance) is a generous gift from G-d, which allows us to erase our improper actions through a four-step process (see below). The Torah tells us that no matter how far we stray or how many times we sin, G-d will wait for us to return to him through Teshuvah. There are four […]

Stories from the Talmud about Repentance

June 30, 2006, by

“Midrashim” about “Teshuvah,” Repentance “Midrashim” are stories and ideas from sections of the Talmud not dealing directly with aspects of Jewish Law. The stories are either true stories about famous or not-so-famous individuals, which illustrate a moral point, obvious fables, again illustrating moral points, or philosophical ideas, derived from verses in the Bible. Some of […]

What are Sin and Repentance?

June 30, 2006, by

“Sin” or “Chet” in Hebrew, means “failure in our relationship with HaShem (G-d).” Our goal should be to continually move closer to G-d, But “chet” is behavior which causes us to move away from G-d. “Repentance” or “Teshuvah” in Hebrew, means “Return.” In this context, it means “Return to G-d” and to behavior required of […]

Rosh Chodesh Elul

June 30, 2006, by

Elul and Rosh Chodesh Elul – In Relation to Other Months of the Year 1 Nisan 2 Iyar 3 Sivan 4 Tammuz 5 Av – 30 days 6 Elul – 29 days; Rosh Chodesh is 2 days 7 Tishrei – 30 days 8 Cheshvan 9 Kislev 10 Tevet 11 Shevat 12 Adar Special Significance (Biblical […]

Who Should Lead the Selichot Prayers?

June 30, 2006, by

Who Should Lead The Selichot Prayers? It is very important that suitable individuals be chosen to lead the Selichot as well as the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Prayers, and to blow the Shofar What is “suitable?’ The most important quality is that they should have pleasant personalities and be acceptable to the entire congregation. […]

Brief Explanation of the “Thirteen Attributes”

June 30, 2006, by

Brief Explanation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy (based on ArtScroll Siddur) The enumeration and explanation of the Attributes follows the generally accepted opinion of Rabbeinu Tam, as found in Rosh HaShanah (17b). (Note: The first two Attributes are based on the two-fold occurrence of the “Name,” “Hashem.” “Hashem” is really not in itself a […]

The Principal Ingredient of All Selichot

June 30, 2006, by

The Principal Ingredient of All Selichot Prayers (based on ArtScroll Siddur) The principal ingredient of all the Selichot Prayers is the “List” of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy of G-d, “Hashem, Hashem, G-d, Compassionate and Gracious, Slow to Anger, and Abundant in Kindness and Truth, Preserver of Kindness for thousands of generations, Forgiver of iniquity, […]

Three Levels of Forgiveness

June 30, 2006, by

Three Levels of Forgiveness (based on a “Tomer Devorah” (1) class by Rabbi Yaacov Haber) There are three Hebrew synonyms: “Selichah,” “Mechilah,” and “Kapparah,” all related to the idea of “forgiveness.” What does each mean? “Selichah,” usually translated as “forgiveness” is the first step which must be taken if someone has committed a sin, whether […]

Basic Questions and Answers about Selichot

June 30, 2006, by

What are Selichot? Selichot are special prayers for forgiveness. • When are they said? They are usually said on fast days, which are occasions when the Jewish People needs special forgiveness for sin. They are also said during the period preceding Yom Kippur, which is obviously also such an occasion. In the Sephardic tradition, Selichot […]

Four Rosh HaShanahs

June 29, 2006, by

Although we are all familiar with the Rosh HaShanah, the “Head of the Year,” which occurs in the Fall, there are actually four Rosh HaShanah’s which define, to an extent, the Hebrew calendar. They are as follows: 1. First of Nisan – This is the month about which Moshe was commanded in Egypt, “This month […]

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