Elul, the month before Tishrei, is known as the month of preparation. Our season of introspection/preparation begins after Shavuot, continues through the Three Weeks, and concludes on Yom Kippur. During Elul our preparations intensify; reading Tehillim (Psalm) 27 (l’David) is part of our daily life from Rosh Ḥodesh Elul to Shmini Atzeret. There is much … Continue reading L’David by Roni Bernstein
As we approach the month of Elul we traditionally get ready to search our hearts and to turn to our G-d. When we look at the word "Elul," it is similar to the root of the verb "search" in Aramaic. The Rabbis usually connect "Elul" to the idea of searching our hearts and preparing ourselves … Continue reading The Search by Diana Levine
You may or may not have heard the controversy swirling around a prominent pastor who recently taught a sermon series in which he basically said that we need to set aside Exodus through Malachi - that it was an old covenant that was replaced by Jesus. I'm not going to go into all the reasons … Continue reading The Shavuot Connection by Jennifer Caracelo
Anticipation. Eagerness. Expectation. Are these words we associate with the counting of the Omer? Now, I don't mean anticipation of cheesecake, blintzes, and kugel at Shavuot, although those are tasty. Maimonides said we should count the Omer "as one who expects his most intimate friend on a certain day counts the days and even the … Continue reading The Simple Act of Counting by Jennifer Nesbitt
We are commanded to rid our homes of ḥametz for Pesaḥ. Somewhere during the physical activity of searching, gathering, and burning the ḥametz in our homes, we are drawn to inspect our own lives to find the ḥametz within. But what exactly would be our “ḥametz?” Many of us have heard teachings which equate ḥametz … Continue reading Chametz by Roni Bernstein
Have you heard the term "hiddur mitzvah"? It means Beautify or Enhance the Mitzvah - we should go above and beyond as we seek to fulfill a commandment of G-d. That is why we have such gorgeous objects in our synagogues and homes that we use to fulfill G-d's commandments surrounding our observance. The sages' … Continue reading Hiddur Mitzvah
Many modern day purim spiels present the story of Esther as an ancient Persian version of the TV show “The Bachelor” where scores of women compete to win a marriage proposal from an eligible, handsome, young bachelor – going on scads of fancy dates and romantic excursions while he presents roses to the contests as … Continue reading Winner of the Persian Bachelor?