Acharei Mot 5776-2016

“Never Give Up Hope"

The Torah boldly declares that the Al-mighty dwells amidst His people Israel even amidst their impurity. Like G-d, we must never give up hope on anyone.

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Chukat 5774-2014

“The Inscrutable Statutes”

The rules and rituals of the Red Heifer represent a model of a “chok,” a Divine statute that seems to have no rhyme or reason. It teaches an important lesson for a person of true faith.

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Sukkot 5772-2011

“The Meaning of Sukkot: Insights of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch”

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888), the great leader of German Jewry, uncovers extraordinary insights in the mitzvah of Sukkah. Among other insights, Rabbi Hirsch boldly proclaims that the message of Sukkah is to go into the Sukkah with G-d and have ultimate faith in Him, Who sustains everyone in the wilderness and in their homes.

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Yom Kippur 5767-2006

"The Poetry of Yom Kippur"

The ritual of the Yom Kippur Temple service is very rich indeed. It is described in great detail as part of the Yom Kippur liturgy known as the Avodah. The Avodah includes the ritual of the scapegoat in which a lottery determines the fate of two identical he-goats. One is sent to the wilderness, the other is sacrificed to G-d. This ritual is intended to convey to the people the important choices that each of us has laid out before us.

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Yom Kippur 5765-2004

"G-d's Gift to His People on Yom Kippur"

One expects sinners and criminals to pay for their sins and crimes, either by way of monetary assessment or physical punishment such as incarceration. And yet, the Divine method of judgment is so different. When the Al-mighty grants forgiveness, He wipes the slate clean and says "You've sinned, you've trespassed--just don't do it anymore." There is no expectation of compensation or further punishment. Forgiveness has been granted! It is a Divine gift based purely on G-d's love for His people.

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