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Jewish Holidays

Yom Kippur: All Time

October 10, 2016, by

The Rambam says Yom Kippur is “the edge” of teshuva “for all”. What does he mean by “for all”? At the beginning of hilchot teshuva, he says teshuva doesn’t have a specific date (or an obligation)? What does he mean by “the edge” of Teshuva. If it’s time-bound why aren’t women exempt?

Cleansing the Cosmos

October 10, 2016, by

The Torah uses “kapara” and “tahara” to describe Yom Kippur. It doesn’t use selicha or mechila. What is the process that begins on Rosh Hashanah that culminates on Yom Kippur with kapara and tahara?

Yom Kippur: Fission

October 10, 2016, by

What is it about Yom Kippur that makes it different than all the other days of the year – even from Shabbos and Yom Tov? How is Yom Kippur similar to the first day of creation?

Over the Edge of Time and Space

October 10, 2016, by

Yom Kippur has several “deviant” aspects to it. The Kohen Gadol is allowed to go into the Kodesh HaKodashim, we bring the Seir La’Azazel (which is offering a sacrifice to Satan!), and we use a lottery. Additionally, we say “Baruch Shem Kevod…” out loud. What is the reason for these deviations? Chazal compare Yom Kippur to the first day of […]

Shabbos Shuva: Riding the Wave of Destiny

October 6, 2016, by

The Medrash says that Adam composed Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat after learning about the power of repentance (teshuva) from Cain. What does this chapter in Tehillim have to do with Teshuva? Haazinu usually coincides with Shabbos Shuva. What is the connection between the Haazinu and Teshuva?

Aseres Yemei Teshuva and Shabbos: The Portal

October 6, 2016, by

The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the days during which G-d can be found. What does that mean? If someone’s merits and demerits are equal, why does God want him to do Teshuva rather than just one more good deed to tip the scale? Why do we use both the lunar cycle […]

Footsteps of Angels: Yom Kippur

October 6, 2016, by

There are interesting lessons to be learned from an unusual aspect of the Yom Kippur prayers. On Yom Kippur we say Baruch Shem Kevod out loud in Shema because we are like the angels. At the end of Yom Kippur we say it silently again? Aren’t we more like angels at Maariv right after Yom Kippur?

Cleansing from Sin

September 30, 2016, by

In Hilchot Ta’aniyot the Rambam says that the commandment on fast days is to fast & cry out. What is the source-pasuk in the Torah for this mitzvah? Sometimes the “Darchei Teshuvah” come before Teshuva and sometimes “Darchei Teshuva” come after the Teshuvah process. Where in the process is crying out?

Teshuva Drasha: “The Truth About Yona”

September 26, 2016, by

Yonah essentially took on God and was an angry Navi. What was the tension between Yonah and God? Why is it chosen as the Haftarah for Yom Kippur Mincha? What is the connection between the laining for Yom Kippur mincha (the illicit relationships) and the Haftarah? Why don’t we lain Vayechal at mincha?

The Extent of Hashem’s Mercy

September 21, 2016, by

The Storyline The story of Bilam, the gentile prophet, is most peculiar. It begins when Balak, the king of Moav, recognizes that he is in danger. The Jewish Nation had just destroyed Sichon, and Moav was next. Out of desperation, Balak sent messengers to Bilam, saying, “Please, curse this nation so that we can remain […]

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