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Selichot Prior to Rosh HaShanah

January 18, 2005, by

The custom of saying selichot (penitential prayers) during the Days of Repentance is quite an ancient one, and is mentioned already in the time of the Geonim, who lived only a few generations after the last Amoraim (sages of the Talmud). The Ran (commentary on the Rif on Rosh HaShanah 3a) mentions three different customs

Shoftim: Confusing the Accuser – Part One

January 18, 2005, by

A theme which we encounter repeatedly in the mitzvah of Shofar is “confusing the accuser” (Satan). For instance: The Gemara tells us that we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana both sitting and standing “in order to confuse the accuser” (Rosh Hashana 16b). In the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon and in Machzor Vitry, this

A Story for the Days of Awe

September 20, 2004, by

About 100 years ago, the Chofetz Chaim suggested that motion pictures were invented to help man visualize Divine judgment. We will all give an accounting for our actions after seeing a “movie” of our past misdeeds. Today, with the advent of computer technology, we can find further insight into spiritual realities that we cannot see