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Life

Rosh Hashana is Not Groundhog’s Day

August 31, 2010, by

I have two unique talents. I can close my eyes and fall asleep within 10 seconds, and once asleep, I can sleep through a tornado. These abilities are heaven-sent. Because of my busy schedule, I sleep very little at night. I am able to keep going by sleeping on the train to and from work.

Old Fashioned

August 24, 2010, by

They called it the “old synagogue”, and they called him the “old rav”, and he did so many things in the “old fashioned” way, that we completely lost our patience. So we didn’t want to sit there… when he gave his speeches in Yiddish. And we didn’t understand why… he still dressed in the style

On Jewish Optimism: Pre Selichot Reflections

August 24, 2010, by

There are those who view Jewish way of life as confining, a pessimistic mode of life, filled with restrictions and a life long agenda of obligations and repetitive serious occasions; praying three times a day with some Tehilim to add. There is Yom Kippur preceded eight days earlier by Tzom Gedaliah, fasting on Tisha B’Av

End of Elul, E-mail to God

August 15, 2010, by

To the Exalted One, Creator of All Things, Rebono Shel Olam; I am sending You my yearly E-Mail (Elokim Mail) to report on the state of Your people as perceived from my virtual world, which of course is quite different from what is perceived from Your real world. There are two points I humbly wish

Binding of Isaac

September 17, 2009, by

Every year as the New Year approaches I find that, despite my best intentions, reality dictates that I concentrate more on the physical preparations than the spiritual ones for the holiday. So I always try to attend at least one pre-Rosh Hashanah lecture. These lectures cover a number of topics: repentance, the shofar, prayer, and

Rosh Hashanah: New Year’s Greetings

September 17, 2009, by

The Rama writes that it is customary on Rosh HaShana to greet with the expression, “May you be inscribed for a good year” (OC 582:9). However, some people adopt a slightly different expression, which is not mentioned in the early commentaries: “May you be inscribed and sealed immediately for a good year!” The basis for

Mark Your Days

September 16, 2009, by

There are calendars which provide the convenience of viewing one day at a time. At the end of the day, the day’s page is torn off and disposed of. When the year ends and all the days and pages have been discarded, all that is left is the pageless, empty cover. Then there are calendars

The Same Old Story?

September 10, 2009, by

One fateful Rosh Hashana Day, the soul of Gershon Kleinbard stood in an endless line of living souls, each waiting to appear before the Master of the Universe for the moment of judgment and reckoning. Only the great tzaddikim sense this encounter; the vast majority of mankind is oblivious to this occurrence. Nonetheless, in the

Nitzavim: Closing Thoughts

September 10, 2009, by

The hour is late. That’s a double entendre – for it’s a couple of hours before the Holy Shabbos, the last one of the year and only a few more days [T-72] before year’s end. A few closing thoughts: For this mitzvah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote

Nitzavim-Vayeilech: Blessing the New Month

September 10, 2009, by

Customarily, the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh is called “Shabbat Mevarchim” because after the Torah reading the coming of the new month is announced and then a special prayer is said (Rema OC 284:7). However, on this Shabbat no announcement is made, despite the fact that next Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh – the custom is that