This Motzei Shabbat is the first of Ellul, and from Sunday morning onwards until Yom Kippur, with the exception of Shabbatot and Erev Rosh Hashanah, a Shofar will be blown in Jewish schools and shuls each morning across the world and sefardim will start reciting selichot. For many people, the sound of the Shofar at … More Is Ellul about renewal or repentance?
Tonight, Jews throughout the world are celebrating Tu Bishvat, often referred to as the ‘birthday for trees’. The source for Tu Bishvat is the Mishna Rosh Hashanah 1:1 in which we are told of 4 New Years: 1) The New Year for kings and for bringing gifts to the Temple during festivals (1st Nissan), 2) the … More Tu B’shvat
INTRODUCTION We’ve just started the hebrew month of Ellul, which means that we will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, in just under a month. One of the greatest lessons in Judaism is that we begin the year by planning for the future and by trying to identify how we can be our … More Avoiding spiritual numbness, maintaining spiritual awareness (Teshuva)
“Mirror, signal, manouvre”. These three words, which are the mantra of all driving instructors, succinctly express the idea that before travelling forward in a vehicle you need to look back and indicate that you are about to move. In a similar vein, I have always understood Rosh Hashanah as the start of a new spiritual … More Why don’t we confess on Rosh Hashanah?
Life can be stressful. While there are moments in life when things go well, there are also situations that we encounter when things do not go to plan; as Shlomo Hamelech famously wrote עֵת לִבְכּוֹת וְעֵת לִשְׂחוֹק עֵת סְפוֹד וְעֵת רְקוֹד – [there is] a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time … More Redefining Simcha (Adar)
Embedded in the legal discussions regarding the methods of prayer and the shape of the shofar is a fascinating theological debate regarding our priorities in life. Simply put, should we focus on the physical aspects of our lives and the impact we can have on this world, or should we focus on the spiritual aspects … More The shofar teaches us about the meaning of life
There are a number of reasons given as to why Megillat Rut is read on Shavuot. For example, the Yalkut Shimoni explains that we read Megillat Ruth on Shavuot to teach us that the only way that Torah can become a meaningful part of our lives is through suffering as experienced by Ruth. Others such … More Hugging is better than kissing (Shavuot)