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Feel Frightened and Depressed? Be Happy!

27 Elul 5772 – September 14, 2012
Simply put, to the initiate, the pain that comes with t’shuva is scary. The baal t’shuva is the man of courage. He is the true hero. He is the one prepared to set out on the greatest journey in life.

A Pathway To Teshuvah

27 Elul 5772 – September 13, 2012
Yom Hadin is almost here and this time of year brings with it a range of emotions. Some people are excited - a new year, the start of school, new clothing. For others, Rosh Hashanah instills fear - the need to correct wrongdoings, to beg for forgiveness and make promises to be better. For still others, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed - either by the awe of the Yom Hadin or perhaps the reality of so many days of Shabbos, Yom Tov, Shabbos (that's a lot of cooking and baking). We are often so busy taking care of all the “things" that need to be done, that we don’t have enough time for spiritual and emotional preparation. It feels like most years I come to Selichos feeling as if I haven't done enough to prepare.

Parshat Nitzavim

Colin Powell, despite reaching the pinnacle of power, has never forgotten his simple roots in the Bronx. This proud connection to his past manifests itself in many ways, ranging from his work ethic to his love of hotdogs. It also manifests itself in his appreciation of what the “regular guy” brings to the table in every organization.

Netzavim: Choose Life

“The life and the death I have given before you…in order that you should live, you and your seed.… And you shall choose life” (30:19). “Choosing life” is one of the highest accomplishments (Shaare Teshuvah III:17). This means that not only does Hashem allow us the free will to choose (a principle that materialist psychologists deny), He also gives us the information that we possess free will.

Cheeseburgers and T’shuva

Only t’shuva can reconnect the sinner with God. Only t’shuva can restore the harmony between a man’s soul and the world. Only t’shuva can wipe away the sins which prevent a man from being a positive contributor to life.

The Metzitzah B’Peh Controversy

26 Elul 5772 – September 12, 2012
Anyone who reads the text of the New York City Department of Health’s proposed rule regarding metzitzah b’peh will immediately notice that two fundamental concerns have been virtually ignored in all of the public debate over the measure.

Be Happy, Now!

24 Elul 5772 – September 11, 2012
Rabbi Kook explains that this misplacing of priorities between the means and the goal stems from the sin of the earth during the days of Creation. By understanding the depth of this teaching, we can learn to be happy, not only when we finally attain our goals and ideals, but also at every moment of our lives.

Not The Correct Charity

24 Elul 5772 – September 10, 2012
The Gaon, Reb Nachum devoted all his time, day and night, to collecting money for charity and helping the poor. The vast majority of the people thought so highly of Reb Nachum that they would deduct a fixed amount of their income every week and give it to him to distribute it to the poor. But there was always the exception, some people just tried to avoid contributing.

Israeli Police Illegal Arrest and Interrogation Fail to Pin Firebombing on 13- and 12-Year-Old...

Those of us who live in democratic societies have grown to see the limits placed on our naturally exuberant police forces as essential components of our civil freedoms. We know a person may not be interrogated without his or her attorney being present. We know a person must be arraigned and charged with a crime, or be set free. We know a minor may not be interrogated without his or her parent present. Not in the wild-west territory of Judea and Samaria, where police is more likely to be brutal than not, especially to Jewish "settlers" (Hebrew for Pariah) and definitely not regarding Jewish boys of bar mitzvah age and younger.

Jew Injured in Stoning Attack Near Kotel

23 Elul 5772 – September 9, 2012
Arabs threw stones at Jews walking near Goren Square, which is near the Kotel. One person was injured, and an ambulance is on its...

Changing Our Image for the Better

22 Elul 5772 – September 8, 2012
Rejecting something with knowledge is one thing, but most Jews in the world today have essentially rejected a life of Jewish observance with very little book or experiential knowledge.

Thoughts Make the Man

20 Elul 5772 – September 7, 2012
Dear Friends, the clock is ticking down to Rosh HaShanah. You can hear the shofars blasting all over the world. T’shuva may seem like a towering mountain too high to climb, but it’s really not as hard as you think.

The Heroes of T’shuva

18 Elul 5772 – September 5, 2012
The true champions of life are not the basketball players, not the Hollywood stars, not even the Prime Ministers and Presidents. The real heroes are the masters of t’shuva.

The World’s Greatest Joy

17 Elul 5772 – September 4, 2012
Even people who have tasted all of life’s secular pleasures insist that the experience of t’shuva is the world’s greatest joy.

‘Personally Unique’

13 Elul 5772 – August 30, 2012
Phil and Mike were part of a team of construction workers building a skyscraper in the middle of the city. When it was time for their lunch break they sat down together with their feet dangling twelve stories from the ground. Phil opened his lunch box and peered in, “Peanut butter and jelly?! Again peanut butter and jelly! I have had enough! If I get peanut butter and jelly again tomorrow, so help me I’m going to jump right off this structure.” Mike then opened his lunch box and peered in, “Tuna fish?! Again Tuna fish! I can’t take it anymore. If I have tuna fish for lunch one more time I’m going to jump off with you.”

Visiting Residents: the Daily Plea of Elul

As the year is coming to an end, with endless days filled with doing the very same commandments, we besiege G-d on each remaining day, asking for one vital ingredient for the one yet to come: May we never get used to our routine.

Daf Yomi

12 Elul 5772 – August 29, 2012
A Two Way Street? ‘Joining Geulah To Tefillah Is Preferable’ (Berachos 30a)

T’Shuva and Finding Happiness

Rabbi Kook teaches that t’shuva encompasses man’s physical being, his moral life, religious life, and his highest, most ideal intellectual endeavor. T’shuva is man’s...

The T’shuva Train

9 Elul 5772 – August 27, 2012
Rabbi Kook explains that t’shuva comes about in two distinct formats, either suddenly, or in a gradual, slowly developing fashion. Both of these pathways to t’shuva are readily found in the baal t’shuva world. Some people will tell you how their lives suddenly changed overnight. Others describe their experience as a long, challenging process which unfolded over years. Many factors influence the way in which t’shuva appears.

Rockets Hits Sderot Industrial Zone

8 Elul 5772 – August 26, 2012
At 9:05 AM, a barrage of 2 rockets hit Sderot, and hit two factory grounds in the industrial park. One of the rockets, hit a...

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