Yom Kippur 5781-2020

“The Thrill of Coming Home”
(updated and revised from Yom Kippur 5761-2000)

The month of Elul and the early days of Tishrei between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are universally regarded as propitious times for repentance and return. As G-d draws closer to us during this period, we need to draw closer to Him.

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Rosh Hashana 5781-2020

“A Message for the High Holy Days: ‘Export, Export!’”
(updated and revised from Rosh Hashana 5763-2002)

During the period of the Ten Days of Penitence, we need to make our lives more spiritually meaningful. It is during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that we must make particularly sincere efforts to "export" good deeds and acts of kindness.

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Devarim 5780-2020

Eichah, The Annual Search for Meaning and Introspection”
(updated and revised from Parashat Devarim 5761-2001)

In order for the Fast of the 9th of Av to be meaningful, it is necessary to focus on the fast’s proper message. Eichah and Ah’yeka are two of the prominent themes of Tisha b’Av. G-d asks the Jews: “Where are you? What have you done with your lives? How could this tragedy have possibly happened?” We, of course, need to ask, how can we improve ourselves?

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Yom Kippur 5780-2019

“How does G-d Judge?”
(Updated and revised from Yom Kippur 5760-1999

We mortals need to be constantly aware that what may seem in our eyes as a trivial or insignificant transgression, may appear in G-d’s eyes as a very serious breach or violation. That’s the challenge of Teshuva.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5777-2017

“Insights to be Gleaned from the Metzorah, the Person Stricken with the Tzaraat Disease"

The Tzaraat disease and its accompanying rituals, appear at first blush, rather primitive. However, Tzaraat, like many other obscure concepts that appear in the Torah, when studied carefully, is deeply insightful and conveys a message of timeless importance to all of humankind.

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Tazria-Metzorah-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5775-2015

“Finding the Silver Lining”

The ancient biblical affliction--Tzaraat, seems to convey the message that affliction and disease can at times be redemptive.

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Vayikra 5774-2014

“The Essence of Sacrifice”

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firer argues that the primary purpose of the rituals of animal sacrifice is to prevent future sinful actions, rather than atone for past trespasses.

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Vayeilech-Yom Kippur 5773-2012

“The Limits of Free Will”

During the period of the Ten Days of Penitence, and especially with the imminent arrival of Yom Kippur, it is most appropriate to inquire about the limits of human free will.

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Nitzavim-Rosh Hashana 5773-2012

“The Return to G-d”

Our rabbis declare that in the place where the penitents stand, even the most righteous cannot stand. Why should G-d feel closer to the penitent than to one who has never sinned?

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