Live Life to the Fullest

Parshat Bereshit: Doing and Being

The year is 1954. Years before the Israeli masses began streaming into India, Azriel Carlebach, the legendary editor of the newspaper Maariv, traveled to India and summarized his experiences in his book “India – a Travelogue.” Carlebach understood well the difference between Western and Eastern worldviews. He quotes a discussion with the Indian prime minister […]

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Desert Tent

Placing Our Trust in God

You shall live in Succot (booths) for seven days, all citizens in Israel shall live in Succot (booths); in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths, when I brought them out of the Land of Egypt, I am the Lord your God.” (Vayikra 23:41-43) The Torah informs […]

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Sukkot Jewish Holiday in Israel

Sukkot and the Joy of Existence

  The root ש-מ-ח is associated with the holiday of Sukkot. In the book of Vayikra (23:40) we read: וּלְקַחְתֶּם לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן פְּרִי עֵץ הָדָר כַּפֹּת תְּמָרִים וַעֲנַף עֵץ עָבֹת וְעַרְבֵי נָחַל וּשְׂמַחְתֶּם לִפְנֵי ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים. This chapter, which delineates the Jewish holidays, applies the term of simcha only to the holiday […]

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Flowing Water

For a Blessing and Not as a Curse…

In Israel, the month of Cheshvan is a month of transition. The summer and the chagim are over and we look to the winter for our annual rainfall. The fact that in Israel we must rely on the winter’s rain to sustain us through the long dry season only stresses our dependency on Hashem. Rain […]

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Matzo ball soup

Eating on the Day Before Yom Kippur

R. Ḥiyya bar R. Difti taught: It says, “And you shall afflict yourselves on the ninth” [Lev. 23:32]. Now on the ninth do we fast? Do we not fast on the tenth? Rather, this is to tell you that anyone who eats and drinks on the ninth, the Scriptures considers it as if he fasted […]

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Private property warning sign on boundary gate

To the Infinite and Beyond: Attaining Taharah

The goal of the avodah (worship) of Yom Kippur is usually understood as the attainment of kaparah, forgiveness from Hashem and from each other. However, the Torah itself tells us that the climactic goal of Yom Kippur is “tit’haru – you shall be purified.” For on this day He shall effect atonement for you to […]

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Second Temple Model of the ancient Jerusalem.

Itzumo Shel Yom: The Power of Yom Kippur

According to Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in Yoma 85b, Yom Kippur atones for all sins in the Torah, both positive and negative, regardless of whether or not the sinner did teshuva. Seemingly, even if a person sins and persists in his rebellious ways, all is forgiven by Yom Kippur. Rebbi’s method raises the question: how can […]

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rating survey

The High Holy Days: Belief in Man

The High Holy Day season is upon us, filling our minds and hearts with so many thoughts and emotions that go beyond our normal framework. This unique time of the Jewish year stands in stark contrast to the New Year’s experience marked by the Gregorian calendar: The approach to Rosh Hashanah is counted down by […]

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Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Achieving Personal and Public Change

The new year before us presents us with an opportunity for renewal and change. However change is not always simple for us. What stands in our way? Why aren’t we able to change the way we would like, and what are the tools which will help us to prepare for the new year? Let us […]

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Happy Man in Wheat Field

Vidui For What We Did RIGHT This Year

This message is being written during the wee moments of this past year and the last days of the month of Elul, the month designated to repentance and return to G-d, reaching its height on Yom Kippur [Tractate Rosh Hashana 18a.] However, this month also marks the last in the past year, as we prepare […]

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