Yom Kippur 5772-2011

"The Magic of the Day of Atonement"

Yom Kippur, the most awesome day in the Jewish calendar, is also the most magical. Despite our trespasses, G-d guarantees His children forgiveness and redemption.

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Tzav 5769-2009

"Judaism's Upbeat View of the Past"

The very first service of the day that the Kohen performed was known as Terumat Hadeshen, the lifting of the ashes. Rabbi Hirsch sees it not as the first act of the service of the new day, but rather as the final act of the preceding day's service. This optimistic interpretation underscores Judaism's singularly positive attitude toward life. Yesterday's frustrations, mistakes, errors and sins are not something to be erased from our consciousness, but rather something to be seen as a way station in our perpetual growth, in our never-ending effort at self-improvement.

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Masei 5768-2008

"Optimism: The Call of the Hour"

From slight nuances in the textual structure, we learn that the priorities of the people were different from the priorities of Moses. Our rabbis teach that Moses possessed a sense of optimism that was lacking in the people of Israel.

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Emor-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5763-2003

"The Counting of the Omer and the Celebration of Israel's Independence"

The counting of the Omer underscores the ultimate purpose of the Exodus from Egypt--the giving of the Torah! Therefore the period from the second day of Passover until the sixth day of Sivan when the festival of Shavuot is celebrated, is counted with great enthusiasm. Counting the Omer is always done in ascending numerical order rather than descending order, underscoring its positive, joyous and optimistic nature--celebrating the victory of light over darkness, morality over immorality and love over hate.

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