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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Yom Kippur 5771-2010

"When Yom Kippur Occurs on Shabbat"

Why did the rabbis who set the Hebrew calendar allow Yom Kippur to occur on Shabbat? After all, when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, Jews are unable to fulfill the mitzvah of “Oneg Shabbat,” and “Oneg Shabbat” is not something that may be easily dismissed!

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Yom Kippur 5770-2009

"Shabbat Shabbaton--The Ultimate Shabbat"

When does true creativity occur? Jewish tradition maintains that introspection and contemplation are essential to creativity. When G-d rested on the Sabbath day, He not only ceased working, but stopped to evaluate His creation. Contemplation, therefore, is the purpose of Yom Kippur as well, the "Shabbat Shabbaton," the Ultimate Shabbat.

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Yom Kippur 5769-2008

"Difficult Transitions"

Transitions are always difficult. In parashat Vayeilech, we learn of the transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua. In a Chassidic tale we learn about a Jewish feudal lord who had converted to Christianity, returning to the Jewish faith only moments before his death.

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Yom Kippur 5768-2007

"The Role of the Cantor in the High Holiday Services"

After the Temples' destruction, the majestic service of ancient times could no longer be replicated. Instead, today, the cantor, who acts as the community representative, stands symbolically in the role of the High Priest. Many other holiday rituals underscore the connection between the High Priest and today's cantor.

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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 5766-2005

"Sharing the Blanket"

The Ten Days of Penitence--Aseret Y'may Teshuvah--are days in which we focus on ourselves to become better people so that our fate is determined favorably in the Divine judgment. But if we are only for ourselves, what are we? We need to learn what Howard Schultz, founder and chairman of Starbucks, learned from Rabbi Nosson Zvi Finkel, the head of Mir Yeshiva, that we must "share the blanket."

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