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August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Rosh Hashana’

A Lifetime Guarantee

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I rarely take the extended warranty when purchasing new electronics. I figure that this warranty must not be worth much if they feel the need to pressure me into buying it. They must know what I have learned the hard way: there is no such thing as a real guarantee. In my more naive days, I purchased this “peace of mind,” as they call it, but never cashed in. Usually, by the time the item broke, I had forgotten about the extended warranty and purchased a replacement. Once I taped a copy of the extended warranty to the side of the copy machine so I would remember it could be replaced if it broke. Which it indeed did, and when I enthusiastically dragged the 60-pound machine to the store for my free replacement, they insisted I give them the original receipt. They refused to accept the photocopy of the receipt that I had responsibly filed away. It seems that page four of the warranty states that the original receipt was required. I had neglected to read the pages of rules that accompanied by original purchase. The lesson was clear. If I were to purchase another extended warranty, I would have to bring a lawyer to the store to read and interpret the fine print. Since a replacement machine is probably cheaper than legal fees, I now make do without this costly and fruitless purchase.

On Yom Kippur we can get a warranty from Hashem with no complicated fine print. On Yom Kippur, we are offered the guarantee for a year of life and blessing, with no need to incur legal fees. We can all sign up for this great offer. However, in order to understand this amazing deal from our Creator, we must obtain some insight into the nature of teshuvah.

Whose fault is it when things go wrong? In general, we don’t like to accept blame. We prefer to blame others or to rationalize our actions. Chazal tell us that when we repeatedly sin, the sins become habits; they become part of who we are, and it becomes very difficult to change the patterns of sin. The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 17) tells us of Eliezer ben Durdiya who had become a habitual sinner. When he decided to repent, Eliezer sat between two mountains and asked them to request mercy for him. They responded that they must request mercy for themselves. In turn, he proceeded to ask the Heaven and earth, the sun, moon, and stars, each responded that it must first request mercy for itself. He finally realized that it was up to him to ask for mercy, whereupon he put his head between his knees and cried until his soul left him. A voice from Heaven declared, “R’ Eliezer ben Durdiya is destined for the World to Come” (without need for Gehinom). Some explain that we learn from this story that even a habitual sinner can change his ultimate direction in life as long as he realizes that he himself is ultimately responsible to change his attitude or actions. When Eliezer ben Durdiya cried out to the two mountains, some explain that the mountains represented his parents, whom he blamed for his current situation. When he cried to the other forces of nature, he was blaming his teachers, friends, or boss. It wasn’t until he assumed personal responsibility for his actions that was he capable of real change, to the extent that his repentance erased a lifetime of serious sin and gained him admission to the World to Come.

The Rambam tell us that there is a serious type of sinner called “minnim,” who “stray after the thoughts of their hearts, concerning themselves with foolish matters… until they ultimately transgress against the body of the Torah arrogantly, with scorn, with the intent of provoking Hashem’s anger, and yet say that there is no sin involved.” At the moment a person sins he does not feel the presence of Hashem, as that alone would prevent him from sinning. We may know that we are wrong, but we easily blame our faults on other people, stress, or the desire for the pleasure involved. The classic example is the person who awakens in middle of the night to get a drink of water. As he passes through the dark kitchen, he trips over a chair, stubs his toe, and jumps up and down in pain. It does not occur to him that his injury occurred because he was not careful or too lazy to turn on the light. After he takes his drink, he passes by the same chair and painfully stubs his toe again. He hops up and down and screams at the stupid chair as if the furniture has a life of its own and deliberately meandered into his path. This explains why a person who gets angry is compared to one who worships idols, since anger makes a person imbue life and power into inanimate objects. Here he gave life and power to the inanimate chair that hurt him with its dastardly actions.

For Victims of Abuse – A Warm Embrace

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Note from Harry Maryles: I usually take this time on the eve of the New Year to reflect on what kind if a year this was for me. The sudden death of my grandson Reuven who suffered from cancer was unexpected. Although his prognosis was never great, he had defied the odds by living as long as he did. People all over the world davened for him and for that I am still grateful.  But it was not meant to be.

On one unusually warm morning in early March of this year Reuven was taken from us as he suddenly collapsed – never to resuscitated. That was one of the hardest days of my life.  But I am grateful to God for all the blessings he as otherwise given me.  And with God’s help I look forward to a much better year ahead.
 
Aside from that personal note, I am going to relinquish the space I give here to any additional reflection or the Dvar Torah I usually give on Erev Yom Tov- to Rabbi Yakov Horowitz. He asked me if I would cross post an essay from his website on my blog. After reading it, I decided that there is no Dvar Torah that I could deliver that would be more important than his words.
With all the troubles facing Klal Yisroel now, I don’t think there is a single issue more important than the issue of sex abuse in our community. We all know the horror stories the survivors of abuse tell us. And we all too often hear of the devastating consequences they face – some for many years after.
 
In part the altered lives they live are a result of the abuse itself. But it is in part also because of the unfortunate negative reaction to the victims by their own community.  It is to this sad reality that Rabbi Horowitz speaks. The new year is not only a time for reflection. It is a time for change. If there is one thing we need to change as a community it is how we treat victims of abuse.
 
Ksiva V’Chasima Tova to all. The following are Rabbi Horowitz’s words.
As we prepare to stand before Hashem in the days to come, and daven (pray) for ourselves, our families and all of Klal Yisroel, those of us who work with survivors of abuse and molestation ask you to publicly show your support for them in these yemei rachamim (days of mercy).
Part and parcel of the strategy employed by many of the predators in our community is to discredit their victims who have the courage to step forward and press charges against them. Typically, the molester will point to the victim’s 1) diminished level of religious observance and/or 2) self-destructive behaviors, like substance abuse, to “prove” his own innocence.However, for those of us who work with at-risk teens, the fact that one of our tayere kinderlach engaged in hard-core drug use, self-mutilation, suicide attempts, or left Yiddishkeit, makes it MORE likely that the accusation is true, not less. Why? Because we have known for many years now that the vast majority of our kids who have descended into the gehenom of these destructive activities have done so because they were molested.Of all the horror committed by predators against our innocent, precious boys and girls, the premeditated and deliberate defamation of their character is perhaps the most unforgivable; since it abuses them all over again and adds to their disconnect from our kehila – when what they need most is our acceptance and love.
With that in mind, I respectfully ask our readers to please stand with the brave survivors and their families who have the courage to take the lonely path of coming forward and pressing charges, with the other silent and silenced victims who are watching the high-profile cases unfold very carefully to determine whether they too should risk going to the authorities, and with all survivors of abuse and molestation.Precisely because the predators attempt to discredit and disgrace the victims and their families, is all the more reason why we need to reach out to them and let them know how much we respect and care for them.Kindly take a few minutes from your busy schedules and post a Rosh Hashana bracha in the thread* following these lines, and have them in mind in your Tefillos. Previous efforts to garner public support for victims were extraordinarily comforting to them, as they help restore their faith in humanity and let them know that the vast majority of our community members are behind them.
Please include your real names and the names of the cities where you live to personalize your message and to send a clear message that we proudly stand with the survivors and their families.
Abuse survivors are our heilege neshamosour holy souls. They have endured unspeakable trauma in their lives and had their childhood cruelly stolen from them, because they learned at a very young age, at the mercy of cunning and evil predators, to never trust again. Nonetheless, the vast, overwhelming majority of survivors seek no revenge or retribution. They only hope and pray that today’s children be spared from the horror they endured.
Regardless of their observance level, we ought to welcome these survivors as full and respected members of our kehilos. We ought to commit to them that we will do everything possible to remove from our community those who prey on our innocent children and speak truth to power if necessary in the coming year to keep all our children safe and secure.If the great tzadik, Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev zt’l were alive, I imagine that he would embrace abuse survivors in his shul on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and proclaim to Hashem, “Master of the Universe, look at these heilige neshamos who have endured so much with such dignity, and in their ze’chus inscribe us all in the Book of Life.”
Best wishes for a k’siva v’chasima tova and may Hashem answer our tefilos b’rachamim u’vrazon.
*Harry Maryles: As always, I welcome all comments to this post. Rabbi Horowitz is also taking comments in the form of Brachos to survivors on his website. If you can, it would be wonderful to get as many readers of this blog as possible to do so. Once again, Ksiva V’Chasima Tova to all!

Shekel Up Against Dollar Post-Rosh Hashanah

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

The shekel strengthened against the dollar and euro in trading after the Rosh Hashana holiday.  Tel Aviv’s foreign currency exchange market was closed Monday and Tuesday for the Jewish New Year.

In trading on Wednesday morning, the shekel-dollar rate dropped by 0.38% to 3.895 shekels to the dollar.

The Euro also strengthened against the dollar to $1.308 to the euro following a four-month low by the dollar against the euro last week.

AIPAC Praises Obama Prior to Holiday

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

As America’s election day  approaches, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), issued a statement thanking President Obama for his support of Israel.

“With Israel and America facing unprecedented threats and challenges in the Middle East, we deeply appreciate the close and unshakeable partnership between the United States and Israel. President Obama and the bipartisan, bicameral congressional leadership, have deepened America’s support for Israel in difficult times,” said the organization, in a statement issued before Rosh Hashana on Sunday.

The statement rankled supporters of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who has repeatedly accused Obama of policies which “throw Israel under the bus”, such as forcing Israel to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority and refusing to subject Iran’s nuclear program to red lines which would trigger US military action.

Happy 5773 From The Yishai Fleisher Show

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by alternative peace activist Baruch Widen, to talk about the nature of Rosh Hashana and how the true meaning of the holiday is not being observed.  They move on to talk about the need for both love and respect in all types of relationships and how it does not exist in the relationship between the west and a majority of the nations in the Middle East and end the segment by discussing the return of the Jewish Warrior to the world and get a quick check in from Malkah about Rosh Hashana preparations in the Fleisher home.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Parshas Nitzavim

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Vol. LXIII No. 37                                           5772

 

New York City
CANDLE LIGHTING TIME
September 14, 2072 – 27 Elul 5772
6:46 p.m. NYC E.D.T.

 

Sabbath Ends: 7:50 p.m. NYC E.D.T.
Weekly Reading: Nitzavim
Weekly Haftara: Sos Assis (Isaiah 61:10-63:9)
Daf Yomi: Berachos 44
Mishna Yomit: Nedarim 5:4-5
Halacha Yomit: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 124:3-5
Rambam Yomi: Hilchos Tum’as Mes chap. 6-8
Earliest time for Tallis and Tefillin: 5:40 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Latest Kerias Shema: 9:43 a.m. NYC E.D.T.
Pirkei Avos: 5-6

Shabbos: All tefillos as customary, including Av HaRachamim, Tzidkos’cha, however at Maariv, Motza’ei Shabbos we do not say Vi’yehi Noam v’Atah Kadosh.

Sunday, Erev Rosh Hashana, we arise early to say the special additional Selichos found in the printed Selichos. Shacharis as usual – except that we omit Tachanun. We do not blow the shofar this morning in order to create a separation between the customary tekios of Elul and the tekios of Rosh Hashana, which are a command. We also annul any vows that we might have made lest we enter Yom Tov with these unfulfilled vows. This Hataras Nedarim must be done before a court of three who release one of one’s vows. We note from the text of Hataras Nedarim that only those vows that may be annulled are included in this hatara. Some are accustomed to fast half a day, until chatzos hayom (N.Y.C.12:52 p.m. E.D.T.)

We take haircuts, shower and immerse ourselves in the mikveh after chatzos hayom, in order to purify ourselves for this very holy day of Rosh Hashana, when all of mankind are judged.

Sunday evening, when we light the candles (6:46 p.m. N.Y.C. E.D.T.) we recite the blessings “… Lehadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov” and Shehecheyanu …” Mincha (as usual, no textual alterations as we find in the subsequent prayers due to Aseres Yemei Teshuva). For the entire Aseres Yemei Teshuva we add the following in the Shemoneh Esreh: Zochrenu LeChayyim, Mi chamocha. We substitute HaMelech Hakadosh for Hak-el Hakadosh during these ten days. If one forgot and said Hak‑el Hakadosh in place of Hamelech Hakadosh and did not quickly correct himself, he repeats from the start of the Shemoneh Esreh. (In the weekday Shemoneh Esreh we substitute Hamelech hamishpat for Melech ohev tzedaka umishpat). Before Vechol hachayyim we add U’che’sov lechayyim. In Sim shalom, right before the beracha Besefer chayyim . . . Ashkenaz generally conclude the beracha with Oseh hashalom while Sefarad conclude with Hamevarech es amo Yisrael bashalom as usual.

Maariv: Birkas Kerias Shema (concluding Hashkivenu with U’feros . . . Ve’al Yerushalayim, as usual), we add Tik’u bachodesh shofar bakeseh le’yom chagenu. The chazzan then recites Kaddish and adds Le’eila [u]le’eila mikol birchasa in substitution of Le’eila min kol birchasa (some congregations do not make this alteration).

The Shemoneh Esreh is the Rosh Hashana text as found in the Machzor. Following the Shemoneh Esreh, Sefarad add LeDavid Mizmor L’Hashem and the chazzan concludes with Kaddish Tiskabbel – we conclude all Kaddish recitals with Oseh hashalom. Some congregations recite kiddush in the synagogue . We conclude with Mekaddesh Yisrael veyom hazikaron, Shehecheyanu, then Aleinu, LeDavid Hashem Ori (Sefarad have said it at Mincha), the respective Kaddish recitals by mourners and Adon Olam [some add or only say Yigdal}.

As we leave the synagogue all greet each other with Le’shana Tova Tikasevu . . .

At home, Kiddush (the text for Rosh Hashana). We wash for the meal. We recite Hamotzi and instead of dipping the challah in salt we dip it in honey (until Shemini Atzeres). We prepare an apple which we dip in honey as well , and recite Borei Pri Ha’etz. We eat from the apple and then recite Yehi Ratzon . . . Shetechaddesh Aleinu Shana Tova U’mesuka. We also have various Simanei Milsa at the seuda – special foods that symbolize good omens – each with its own beracha. These are found in the Machzor.

Monday morning: The chazzan dons a kittel – in some congregations all congregants don a kittel as well. We then recite the usual tefillos in the Machzor, Korbanos, Kaddish D’Rabbanan. Pesukei DeZimra are said slower and with much concentration. At Nishmas, if there are separate chazzanim for Shacharis and Pesukei DeZimra, the second chazzan begins with Hamelech, then Yishtabach, Shir Hama’alos and half Kaddish.

Today in 1972 – Democratic Hopeful George McGovern Sends New Year’s Wish to US Jews

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential candidate, greeted American Jews today on the occasion of the High Holy Days. “Mrs. McGovern joins me in wishing our Jewish friends and Jews around the world a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,” the South Dakotan said.

“Traditionally,” McGovern’s message continued. “the High Holy Days has been a period for reflection and rededication. Jews have chosen the Days of Awe as a time for the individual to look at himself to examine how he can better fulfill his responsibilities to his Maker and his fellow man.

“Rosh Hashana symbolizes a reaffirmation of the values that have shaped the Jewish role within the world community. It marks a renewed commitment to the task of improving the world unto the Almighty. I join the Jewish community in the prayer that the New Year 5733 will bring a time of peace, Justice and brotherhood for all men.” McGovern’s message concluded.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/today-in-1972-democratic-hopeful-george-mcgovern-sends-new-years-wish-to-us-jews/2012/09/05/

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