Elul – Day 37

Posted by on Sep 25, 2020 | 0 comments

Elul – Day 37

Tishrei 7 THE CYCLE OF FORGIVENESS Yom Kippur, which is only three days away, is called the “Day of Forgiveness” because this is the day when Moses, after pleading with G-d for 80 days to forgive the Israelites for the Sin of the Golden Calf, finally succeeded.  On this day, G-d finally said to him: “I will forgive as you have asked.” On Yom Kippur we seek to connect to the energy of this awesome day and win forgiveness for ourselves as well.  But we can hardly expect to be forgiven by G-d if we ourselves have not been willing to forgive others. Forgiveness is not...

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Elul – Day 36

Posted by on Sep 24, 2020 | 0 comments

Elul – Day 36

APPROACHING THE SOURCE We have now reached the midpoint of the Ten Days of Teshuvah. This is the period, say the sages of the Talmud, of which the Prophet Isaiah (55:6) speaks when he proclaims: “Seek G-d when He is to be found; call on Him when He is near.” This might seem like an odd statement because we are taught that G-d is omnipresent at all times and all places in the world. How could we say that now He is closer to us? But Isaiah is not speaking from G-d’s perspective but from the soul’s perspective. Chassidic teachings explain that this special time of the...

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Elul Day 35

Posted by on Sep 23, 2020 | 0 comments

Elul Day 35

THE PERSONAL HOLY OF HOLIES Before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the pinnacle of the Yom Kippur service was the moment when the High Priest (the Kohen Gadol) would enter the Holy of Holies. This was the only time of the year that anyone could enter this holiest of inner sanctums and only the High Priest was permitted to do so and only for a short duration. It was such an intense moment that if the High Priest was not completely pure—if he had committed even one transgression for which had had not previously atoned—he would die immediately. This was because the Holy of Holies...

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Elul – Day 34

Posted by on Sep 22, 2020 | 0 comments

Elul – Day 34

RETURNING TO PURE ESSENCE In our earlier exploration of the meaning of teshuvah (see Elul 18), we defined teshuvah as having two levels—repentance and return: Repentance means regretting a wrongful action, resolving not to repeat it, asking forgiveness, making amends. Return means coming back to one’s soul, one’s Divine essence, to one’s source in G-d. The first level—which is what we should have been working on during the month of Elul—is only the means to achieve the second, which is our focus now, during the Ten Days of Teshuvah. During these special days, we should be...

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Elul – Day 32

Posted by on Sep 20, 2020 | 0 comments

Elul – Day 32

Tishrei 2, Second Day of Rosh Hashana   THE DAY OF CORONATION The idea of Rosh Hashana as the day when we “coronate” God as the King of the Universe, may be one of the strangest and hardest to accept for those of us raised in modern, democratic societies. To us kings are corrupt despots at worst, and characters out of fairy tales at best. Yet this idea is essential to the observance of Rosh Hashana, because in the language of Judaism a king is a metaphor for absolute authority. On Rosh Hashana we accept upon ourselves God as the one and only absolute authority who rules over...

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Elul – Day 31

Posted by on Sep 19, 2020 | 0 comments

Elul – Day 31

Tishrei 2, Second Day of Rosh Hashana   THE DAY OF CORONATION   The idea of Rosh Hashana as the day when we “coronate” G-d as the King of the Universe, may be one of the strangest and hardest to accept for those of us raised in modern, democratic societies. To us kings are corrupt despots at worst, and characters out of fairy tales at best. Yet this idea is essential to the observance of Rosh Hashana, because in the language of Judaism a king is a metaphor for absolute authority. On Rosh Hashana we accept upon ourselves G-d as the one and only absolute authority who rules over...

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