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Jewish Holidays

Three Levels of Forgiveness

June 30, 2006, by

(based on a “Tomer Devorah” 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 it be against G-d or […]

About Work Restrictions

June 29, 2006, by

All Jewish holidays and observances, with the exception of some fasts, begin on the evening previous to the first day. Except as noted, all require special additional prayers and services are held in the Synagogue. All Jewish Holidays with Sabbath-like restrictions require that all normal business, school or secular activities cease about two hours before […]

Yonah’s Flight from Destiny

June 29, 2006, by

Towards the climax of Yom Kippur, we are instructed by Chazal to focus our attention on the reading of the entire Book of Yonah. Why did our Sages see fit to choose this particular reading as the gates of mercy are about to close? There are those who suggest that the answer lies in the […]

The 13 Attributes of Mercy

June 29, 2006, by

‘And God passed before him and proclaimed…’ Rabbi Yochanan said: Were it not written in the text, it would be impossible for us to say such a thing; this verse teaches us that God enwrapped Himself like the sheliach tzibbur (prayer leader) of a congregation and showed Moshe the order of prayer. He said to […]

The Ten Days of Repentance: 2 Types of Teshuva

June 29, 2006, by

Although the mitzva of teshuva (repentance) is of a universal nature, and therefore not limited to any specific time period, the ten days from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur are singled out as “days of repentance.” In what way are these days unique with respect to teshuva? The Rambam in Hilchot Teshuva focuses his discussion […]

The Role Of The Kohen Gadol (High Priest) In The Yom Kippur Avodah

June 29, 2006, by

The Kohen Gadol is forbidden to enter the Kodesh HaKodashim (Holy of Holies) in his regular, golden-thread priestly vestments [“Bigdei Zahav”]. Rather, special white garments [“Bigdei Lavan”] are required for Yom Kippur Avodah in the Kodesh HaKodashim. Chazal explain that this rule is predicated upon the negative inferences of the golden-thread vestments, for they invoke […]

Yonah Q&A

June 29, 2006, by

Questions Why do we read the Book of Yonah on Yom Kippur? How long was Yonah inside the fish? What did the sailors do when they saw their ship floundering in the storm? In which well-known sea was Yonah when he was inside the fish? What did Yonah do inside the fish? How big was […]

Yom Kippur Q&A

June 29, 2006, by

Questions Passover commemorates the going out of Egypt. Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah. What historical event can Yom Kippur be said to commemorate? For what kinds of sins does Yom Kippur not atone? What should someone do if the person he wronged does not forgive him the first time? Why is the vidui […]

Exploring the Al-Chet Prayer

June 29, 2006, by

When one begins to look at the task of teshuva (repentance), it can be overwhelming. We’ve made so many mistakes this past year that it’s hard to know where to begin! Clearly, if we don’t have an excellent system for tackling this project, it will be very time consuming and draining. In Judaism we say […]

The ABCs of Yom Kippur

June 29, 2006, by

ANGEL FOR A DAY What are “angels?” Angels are completely spiritual beings, whose sole focus is to serve their Creator. On Yom Kippur, every Jew becomes like an angel. As the Maharal of Prague explains: “All of the mitzvot that God commanded us on [Yom Kippur] are designed to remove, as much as possible, a […]

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