Jewish Holidays

The Akeidah

June 28, 2006, by

Some are bothered as to why the akeidah plays such a central theme in Rosh Hashanah. That is to say – there are so many other examples in which our ancestors put their lives on the line to show their belief and commitment to God (such as Nachshon at the Yam Suf, as well as […]

Two Teams

June 28, 2006, by

Here’s one way to think about the essence of the sacred holiday, Rosh Hashanah. (Inspired, perhaps, by everybody’s excitement at the approach of baseball’s post-season.) Rosh Hashanah is the time when we must decide which team we want to play for in the coming year. “Team?” you ask. “Just who (or what) is in this […]

The Shofar – A Cry From The Depths

June 28, 2006, by

Rav Abbahu said, “Why do we blow a ram’s horn? The Holy One, Blessed Be He, said: ‘Sound before Me a ram’s horn so that I may remember on your behalf the binding of Isaac the son of Avraham, and account it to you as if you had bound yourselves before Me.” “And Avraham lifted […]

Tashlich

June 28, 2006, by

The word “Tashlich” means “You will cast away.” In this context, it refers to a custom dating from at least as early as the fourteenth century, but probably much earlier, based on the last verses of the Book of Michah (Micah) 7:18-20, shown below: “Who is a G-d like You? You forgive sins and overlook […]

Annulment of Vows Dialogue

June 28, 2006, by

The following text is lengthy, quite technical and detailed. It is based on Talmudic concepts, and is constructed, in Jewish “legalese,” to cover all relevant topics. The petitioner begins by addressing the Beit Din as follows: Petitioner’s Statement Listen, please, my masters, expert judges — every vow or oath or prohibition, or prohibition that I […]

Various Customs of Rosh HaShanah

June 28, 2006, by

It is customary on Rosh Hashanah, during the evening meals, to eat foods symbolizing sweetness, blessings, and abundance. We dip the challah in honey; and afterwards, on the first night, we eat a piece of apple dipped in honey. In general, this time of year is a very profitable one for those in the honey […]

Full Text of U’Netaneh Tokef

June 28, 2006, by

The Full Text (Scanned from the ArtScroll Rosh HaShanah Machzor) The following is the full translated text of the great prayer, “U’Netaneh Tokef,” attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, as related to Rabbi Klonimus ben Meshullam THE ARK BEING OPEN: Congregation and chazzan: So now, the Kedushah prayer shall ascend to You, for You, our […]

The Annulment of Vows

June 28, 2006, by

The Torah permits people to accept upon themselves personal obligations and prohibitions. Once made, these vows (or oaths) must be kept. There are two commandments in the Torah making it obligatory to keep such vows. The Torah, however, also provided a way to release oneself from a vow. By going to a Beit Din, a […]

U’Netaneh Tokef: Background and History

June 28, 2006, by

“Let Us Tell How Utterly Holy This Day Is” The Background The prayer entitled “U’Netaneh Tokef” is attributed to a Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, Germany, who lived about one thousand years ago. The story behind this piyut, a prayer-poem, is sad and poignant, and may shed light on the prayer itself. The Bishop of Mainz […]

Three Basic Prayers of Rosh HaShanah: Malchuyot, Zichronot, Shofarot

June 28, 2006, by

Three descriptions, so to speak, of G-d, through which we can relate to Him, are contained in the Mussaf Prayer of Rosh HaShanah. They are as follows: 1) Malchiyot – Kingliness: G-d is the incomparable King of The Universe. The destiny of humanity is to come to this realization. Whereas human kings rule in accordance […]