Elul is the Hebrew month that precedes the High Holidays (Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur). It is a time of study and personal reflection on our actions of the past year. It also is a time when we seek forgiveness from those we have wronged or with whom we otherwise have “missed the mark” in our interactions and behaviors. This year, Elul began at sundown on August 26.
Here are seven things to know about Elul.Traditionally, the shofar is blown each morning (except on Shabbat) from the first day of Elul until the day before Rosh Hashanah. Its sound awakens the soul and kick... Read More
In Pirkei Avot, the rabbis wrote, “Mitzvah goreret mitzvah, averah goreret averah,” one mitzvah (commandment/good deed) leads to another mitzvah, and one transgression leads to another transgression. I don’t think they could have ever envisaged how true this statement would be in the age of social media. The craze of video challenges has grown over this past year, both with positive and negative effects.
Earlier in the year, we witnessed the craze of “neknomination” in Europe, as teenagers and young adults challenged one another to participate in risky behavior, recording the...Read More
The Hebrew month of Elul begins on Wednesday, August 27th. During this month preceding the High Holidays, many Jews take time to reflect on the past year and to take stock of their actions.
As people mature, they begin to formulate achievable goals, allowing them to later look back and evaluate what they accomplished and where they fell short. The Babylonian Talmud (the repository of Jewish wisdom compiled in the 6th century CE) teaches that at the final judgment, we are asked three basic questions: Did you conduct your business with integrity? Did you set aside fixed times for...Read More
As Yom Kippur, our only holiday which focuses on our relationship with God, fades behind us, I am reminded of a 2007 article I read in Newsweek. Christopher Hitchens quoted these words Mother Teresa had spoken:
For me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, – Listen and do not hear – the tongue moves but does not speak.” “Such deep longing for God – and…repulsed-empty –no faith- no love- no zeal.
Mr. Hitchens points out that such doubt for Mother Teresa would indeed have caused crisis, not only for her, but for the catholics for whom...Read More
As I took a short walk last week during a break between Yom Kippur services, a memory, both humorous and deeply emotional, flooded my heart.
I realized that my rebellion against fasting began as a teen. That rebellion was supported by an adult who was a very influential person to me, especially in my teen years.
It won’t be a surprise to many that as a teen I was a “temple geek.” I loved being at temple with my friends, in youth group, in religious school and Hebrew High. But I was also a normal teen who tried to ditch classes during break and who got bored during High...Read More
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