One of the greatest gifts that G-d gave us is the gift of Teshuvah (“repentance”, or “return” to G-d).
I mean, think about it! A person can commit the worst sins – but if he sincerely regrets his actions (and, in the case of sins between man and his fellow man, asks forgiveness from the person he wronged), makes a solid commitment not to return to his previous behavior, and verbally confess his misdeeds, G-d will accept his Teshuvah and he will be completely forgiven!! Is that not a great gift or what?!
This explains why the Talmud in Ta’anis 28b calls the fast of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) “one of the happiest holidays” on the Jewish calendar. After all, it is the day upo...
PREPARE YOURSELVES! THE DAY OF JUDGMENT IS COMING!
This Shabbos begins the Hebrew month of Elul, which can only mean one thing … that Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, is coming very soon. But how many of us will actually take the time during this ‘month of introspection’ to sit down and think about our deeds and misdeeds during the past year and try to do Teshuvah and make amends?
I fear that many if not most of us will do very little during the entire month of Elul until the High Holidays are upon us and only then try to do everything at once at the very last minute when it really doesn’t work.
Rabbi Yehudah Leib Lozorov ZT”L illustrates this sad reality with a hilarious parab...
“He afflicted you and let you hunger, and He fed you the manna…” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Rabbi Chaim Yosef Dovid Azulai (1724-1806), commonly known as the Chid”a (by the acronym of his name), cites a Midrash Pliah which states that “this verse alludes to the mitzvah of lighting Shabbos candles”. The Chid”a explains the connection as follows:
The Talmud in Yoma 74b expounds the verse: “Who feeds you manna in the wilderness … in order to afflict you …” (Deuteronomy 8:16). [What kind of affliction was eating the good-tasting manna?] …[One explanation offered is as follows:] You cannot compare a person who sees what he is eating to a person who does not see what he is ea...
One question that has been discussed by Jews quite often, and especially over the past 150 years or so, and that has special relevance to the fast day of Tishah B'Av that Jews all across the world observed this Sunday, August 14th, is this:
What binds the Jewish people together - are we a nation, a race, or a religion? Or are we none of the above; rather, we just share a common heritage and culture. Who are we really?
Well, we are definitely not a race, especially when you consider the fact that one can convert to Judaism - when was the last time that you heard of a white man "converting" to blackness? In addition, the Torah has always establish...
This Z-mail “Special Addition” is dedicated in honor of the occasion of the birth this week of
our first grandchild, the son of our children Adina and Eli Kuhnreich. May they merit to bring the newborn baby into the covenant of Abraham our forefather in its proper time, and to raise him to [a life of] Torah, the wedding canopy and good deeds.
WHAT’S A “SHALOM ZACHAR”?
Perhaps the strangest of all Jewish lifecycle events is the Shalom Zachar. Unlike other lifecycle celebrations, there are no speeches, there is no ceremony, no special prayers or songs. It is just a bunch of people getting together, saying L’chaim and Mazel Tov.
The Shalom Zachar (lit. “Welcoming the Male”) is an info...
The period in the Jewish calendar that we are in right now is traditionally known as Bein Hametzarim, "within the days of distress", and is sometimes referred to as "The Three Weeks". It started on the fast day of Shivah Asar B’Tammuz, the Seventeenth day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, and ends three weeks later on the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, the fast day of Tishah B'Av, the Ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (this year the fast is deferred from Saturday August 13th to Sunday August 14th).
This three-week period is a time of national mourning for the Jewish people, as many terribl...
Have you heard the latest joke going around the U.S.?
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were together on a boat. The boat started to sink. Who was saved? …... AMERICA!!!!
It is interesting that the Democratic National Convention and the campaign for a new leader to replace President Obama coincides with the weekly Torah portion of Pinchas in which Moses asks G-d to appoint a successor to lead the Jewish people after his death. As we will read this Shabbos in the synagogue:
“Moses spoke to G-d, saying. ‘May the L-ord, G-d of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the assembly, who shall go out before them and come in before them,...
One nice summer day, a man was walking through the park when he noticed something very strange. A man was holding his hand up to his head as if it were some kind of telephone receiver, and was listening through his thumb and responding through his pinky. He stopped the man and asked him, “What exactly are you doing?” The man replied, “Don’t you keep up with technology? The latest thing is a tiny computer chip that they implant in both your thumb and your pinky, turning your hand into a virtual smartphone!” The man walked a little further in the park and came across another bizarre scene.
Someone was strolling leisurely with his hands behind his back, all the...
OF PIGEONS AND PRIESTS: REDEMPTION OF THE FIRSTBORN
Most lifecycle events in traditional Judaism are well known by the majority of Jews. After all, who hasn't been present at, or at least heard of, a Bris (circumcision), a Bar/Bas Mitzvah, or a Chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy), etc.
But I am willing to bet that there are a great many Jews out there who have never been present at, nor have even heard of, one of the more interesting and somewhat strange lifecycle events in the life of a Jewish boy - the Redemption of the Firstborn - known in Hebrew as the Pidyon Haben. (I myself have thus far only attended three of these ceremonies!)