Holidays

Holidays

Parshat Ki Tavo

Selichot

In Parshat Ki Tavo, the Torah describes a process known as the “confession of the tithes.” After one has finished offering all the appropriate and required tithing, one is to say to G-d things like “I have given to the stranger, the orphan and the widow according to whatever commandment You commanded me; I have not violated any of Your commandments and I have not forgotten … I have listened to the voice of G-d and I have acted according to everything You have commanded me.”  
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Rosh Hashanah 5781

Lessons on Unetaneh Tokef



                                    Presentation on Unetaneh Tokef

                                       To Congregation B’nai Tzedek

                                                Paul M. Hamburger

                                               September 14, 2020

                                                        25 Elul 5780

For the next half hour, I would like to share some thoughts on … 

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Rosh Hashanah Essay 5780

Heeding the “Sound” of the Shofar and Listening to the “Voice” of Your Children

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson was the father and teacher of Rabbi Menachem M.  Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe.  For about 25 years, the Rebbe lived, for the most part, in his parents’ home where the Rebbe and his father developed a close personal bond.  The Rebbe and his father last saw each other in the fall of 1927 (29 Tishrei 5688) and would never see each other again in the physical world.  During 1928, and pending the Rebbe’s wedding date, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak wrote a series of letters to his son all related to the Rebbe’s upcoming wedding.  Four of the letters were written on the eve of Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, and Sukkot. In each letter, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak tied the holiday to his son’s upcoming wedding through explaining the Kabbalistic significance of each holiday and how it relates to different aspects of marriage. 

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Parshat Nitzavim

Rosh Hashanah – Choosing a Direction

Atem Nitzavim Hayom Kulchem Lif’ney Hashem. You are all standing here today before G-d. The leaders of tribes, the elders, and everyone from the senior officer to the water carrier and wood chopper were all standing to hear G-d’s message. He then called Heaven and Earth as witnesses to what is our ultimate choice “I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; and [therefore] choose life!” Read More >>

Parshat Re’eh

Rosh Hashanah – Guilty With Explanation

I always thought that the traffic ticket for a moving violation was inspired by Jewish sources.  Why?  Because when you get a ticket you are provided with three choices for a response: innocent, guilty, or (here’s the Jewish part) “guilty with explanation.”  

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Parshat Vayelech

Yom Kippur

Parshat Vayelech opens with an unusual phrasing: “Vayelech Moshe Vayidaber et ha’devarim ha’eleh el kol Yisrael” – Moshe went out and spoke these words to all of Israel. Couldn’t the Torah have just said Vayidaber Moshe et ha’devarim ha’eleh el kol Yisrael – Moshe spoke these words to all of Israel? A little tighter editing seems in order. Instead, we begin with Vayelech Moshe – and Moshe went out. Why? Read More >>

Sukkot Essay 5780

Establishing a “B’li G’vul” Relationship With Your Children

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson was the father and teacher of Rabbi Menachem M.  Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe.  For about 25 years, the Rebbe lived, for the most part, in his parents’ home where the Rebbe and his father developed a close personal bond.  The Rebbe and his father last saw each other in the fall of 1927 (29 Tishrei 5688) and would never see each other again in the physical world.
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Parshat Bereishit

Simchat Torah – An Ending or a New Beginning?)

In Parshat Bereishit, right after G-d decided that man should not live alone and before G-d created a helpmate for Adam, there is an interesting transitional passage. G-d brought all the animals He had created to Adam to see what Adam would name them. Whatever name Adam gave them is what they would be called. Read More >>

Searching for Chametz

Passover

In preparation for Pesach, we spend weeks cleaning the house and removing all traces of leavened products (called “chametz” in Hebrew).  Interestingly, according to reports on the internet, even the President seems to be getting into the Passover spirit this year; he’s spent the past few weeks cleaning out his cabinet.
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Passover Thoughts 5779

Here are three short essays with some specific thoughts to share at Passover to help stimulate conversation at the Seder.
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Shabbat Chazon 2002​

Tisha B’Av

This Wednesday night and Thursday marks Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar.  Tisha B’Av is one of six public fast days, including Yom Kippur, the Fast of Esther, the 10th of Tevet, 17th of  Tammuz, and Tzom Gedaliah.  Just like Yom Kippur, Tisha B’Av is a 24 hour fast; but the focus of our fast, indeed the focus of the entire three-week period from the 17th of Tammuz to Tisha B’Av is one of mourning.
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Parshat Devarim

Tisha B’Av

When we first met Moshe in the book of Shmot (Exodus) we heard him plead with G-d to choose another leader as he argued: “Lo Ish Devarim Anochi” – “I am not a man of Devarim (words)”.  Ironically, now that we are in Parshat Devarim, we see that Moshe has indeed become the man of Devarim.  The Parsha opens with the famous words “Eleh Ha’Devarim asher diber Moshe el kol Yisrael” – “These are the words (Devarim) that Moshe spoke to all the people of Israel.”  The entire Parsha, indeed the entire book, consists of Moshe’s oration to the people as they prepare to enter the land of Israel.
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