To be sure, it isn’t easy being a Jew. We have a demanding Boss who expects greatness from us. We are to be a “mamleches kohanim v’goy kadosh” – a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. We cannot always do what we want, act the way we want, speak the way we want, or dress the way we want. Yet we wouldn’t have it any other way, for we are God’s chosen people.
We teach our children that they are different; that they are special; that they are fortunate to have the glorious responsibility of carrying God’s torch down the boulevards of nations and through the pathways of world history. And though this torch may dim for a while, in the end we know it will always be held aloft, burning bright. Am Yisrael Chai.
We teach this message anew every Pesach as we remember the time and the moment we became Hashem’s people. We gladly and proudly renew our commitment and our timeless bond to Him. So this Pesach-cleaning season – our own spring training – let us remember to not only check the nooks and crannies of our homes for chametz, but to check and clean out the soiled nooks and crannies of our hearts from all the compiled chametz of bad middos.
Let us properly prepare for our Opening Day – the first night of Pesach 5769.
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1. Josh is a 20-year-old college student who was given a yeshiva education from kindergarten through 12th grade. No doubt his parents spent well over $100,000 for his solid Jewish education. He is involved in Jewish life on campus and attends minyan regularly, though life on campus is a spiritual battle. So when he told me he went to his college football team’s stadium to attend a game on a Shabbos afternoon, I was a little disappointed.
Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of spring. Fathers roasting succulent hot dogs on a flaming grill; children frolicking carefree on the lawn, playing with their little friends; bees buzzing excitedly over their newest source of sweet, golden nectar; ducks quacking incessantly, splashing in a pond; white, puffy, cumulous clouds sailing through the clear blue skies like an armada of misty ships going out to sea.
Forty years ago, the teshuvah movement was in its infancy. Since then, due to the efforts of some determined individuals, the phenomenon has blossomed, positively impacting Jewish communities worldwide. It would be beneficial to take a step back to see where we are today and what the trends are for the future.