Yom Kippur 5764-2003

"Smashing the Golden Calves"

The sin of the Golden Calf is perhaps the most reprehensible crime that the Jewish nation has committed against G-d. At the foot of Mount Sinai, immediately following the miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery, when the Al-mighty showed the world that He had chosen the Jews as His people, the people brazenly defied Him, and were unfaithful to their beloved Creator. Yom Kippur is a day to express regret, and vow to change the many ways that the Jewish people may have betrayed their relationship with their Father-in-Heaven during the previous year.

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Haazinu 5762-2001

“The Ten Days of Teshuva: A Propitious Time for Repentance”

Our rabbis say that the month of Tishrei is a propitious time for Teshuva, repentance. It is a time when G-d comes out into the “field” to meet us. G-d does not desire for anyone to die, but rather that the wicked will return from their evil ways and survive.

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Nitzavim 5761-2001

"Striving to Reach Heaven During the Days of Awe"

During the period of selichot, the Jewish people have a unique opportunity to ascend and grow morally and religiously. It is an opportunity for each of us to improve our attitudes and behaviors, to work on our relationships with humans and with G-d. If we strive to reach heaven, we can rest assured that we will be blessed, because we are on the right track.

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Yom Kippur 5761-2000

"The Thrill of Coming Home"

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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Acharei Mot 5760-2000

"The Forbidden Relationships Work Both Ways"

Parashat Acharei Mot lists, in a very forceful manner, the rules and regulations regarding immoral and forbidden sexual relationships. It is this text that is read publicly at the afternoon Yom Kippur service in order to remind the Jewish people of proper moral conduct. However, it is also perhaps a reminder to G-d that just as He expects His people to be loyal to Him, so must He be loyal to His people and not exchange us for any other people.

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Yom Kippur 5760-1999

"How Does G-d Judge?"

Since we never know the value that the Divine "tribunal" ascribes to our deeds or misdeeds, we mortals need to be constantly aware that what may seem in our eyes as trivial or simple transgressions may appear in G-d's eyes as very serious breaches and violations. This "unknown factor" is one of the major challenges of sincere Teshuva (repentance).

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