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Jewish Holidays

“And though the holes were rather small…”

September 21, 2015, by

In a daring and optimistic passage, the rabbis describe the Divine assistance 1 received by those who make even the smallest gesture of repentance: Yassa said: The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: My children, make for Me an opening of repentance no bigger than the point of a needle, and I will […]

Visiting the Graves of Loved Ones Before Yom Kippur

September 21, 2015, by

There is a meaningful custom of visiting the graves of our loved ones during the period surrounding Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. What thoughts should enter our hearts and minds when we make this visit? We can gain an insight from a thought-provoking Talmudic teaching. The Talmud says that one who visits a cemetery is […]

An Unesanu Tokef Companion

September 8, 2015, by

As told to Chaia Frishman The chazzan begins to hum the familiar tune of Unesanu Tokef. Familiar, not because I’ve heard its melody in shul for the last few decades, but it is a part of me as I see its consequences every waking day of my life. As the Associate Director of Project Chai, Chai Lifeline’s Crisis […]

Halacha L’Maaseh: Yom Kippur

September 3, 2015, by

Asking Forgiveness If you know you have offended or otherwise injured someone, ask for forgiveness before Yom Kippur (if doing so will bring up bad feelings from the past, you may not do so–but you might not be forgiven for that injury). If you may have offended, ask for forgiveness. If you are certain that […]


I don’t know whether you ever noticed, but teshuvah, the whole cycle of repentance and forgiveness, plays no part in the early dramas of humankind. It doesn’t in the story of Adam and Eve. As for Cain, God mitigates his punishment but he doesn’t forgive him for his crime. There is no call to repentance […]

God’s Faith In Us

Professor Reuven Feuerstein who died aged 92 in April 2014 was one of the great child psychologists of the world, a man who transformed lives and led severely brain-damaged children to achievements no one else thought possible. I knew him and admired him, and I was recording a tribute to him when his son told […]

Yonah: Running Away From God

October 1, 2014, by

On Yom Kippur at Mincha we read the book of Yonah. The message of Yonah is that even if your teshuva isn’t 100%, it still has an impact, you have to do something small. Yonah’s demand of 100% teshuva is incorrect.

Hilchos Uminhagei Yom Kippur

September 30, 2014, by

The following is meant as a convenient review of Halachos pertaining to Yom-Kippur. The Piskei Din for the most part are based purely on the Sugyos, Shulchan Aruch and Rama, and the Mishna Berura, unless stated otherwise. They are based on my understanding of the aforementioned texts through the teachings of my Rebeim. As individual […]

Teshuva: Averting The Decree

This year we approach the New Year with more fear and trembling than for a very long time. This summer, in Gaza, we saw Israel, at double risk of Hamas missiles and tunnels, forced into some of the most difficult choices a nation has ever had to make. How do you fight a war against […]

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