December 17, 2018 |

Rosh Hashanah

Vayera -- Abraham's apostasy and the Akeda

From a standpoint of ordinary human ethics, Vayera is perhaps the most difficult of all the parashot. When we read the Akeda, those of us with children shudder at the thought of a man unhinged enough to offer up his own son as a sacrifice, and cringe at a G-d who would put him to that kind of test....

The Moment of Creation

Beginnings can be tricky. How do you really know what came first? Was it the chicken or the egg? If you go back enough generations, will you find the original chicken? Or the original egg? How do you know when something really began? When does a zygote become a baby, or when is a human being...

Echoes of Reality

When I was a college freshman at Boston University, one of the great Rabbis of our generation - Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik - passed away. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't yet know much about this impressive modern Orthodox Rabbi-philosopher[1]. I was not a rabbi, had no plans to be a rabbi...

A Reinvigorated Evangelical Jew

Recently there was an article about me in an online magazine. It was a very nice article. By that I mean it said very nice things about me, but it had at least one mistake. It said I was the rabbi of Ohev Sholom, located in Dupont Circle. Now this is an honest mistake since I do spend some...

The Story of Hannah: From Loneliness to Community

Who do you think is the loneliest person you know? Who do you think is the loneliest person in Jewish history? In my opinion the answer to that question is Elisha Ben Avuya, also known as Acher (or Other). The Talmud (Tractate Chagigah 15a) tells us the following story. Elisha Ben Avuya...

New Fruit

NVTDHUBQ2WP9 There is an ancient and charming custom of having new fruit at the table on Rosh Hashanah. Classically, this is due to the legal uncertainty of the status of the second day of the holiday. If the two days of Rosh Hashanah are really just one long day, as the Talmud suggests, then one...

Going "Off the Record" for the High Holy Days

<i>This article originally appeared in the NY Jewish Week.</i> It usually happens at social gatherings. Someone says, "I've got an unbelievable story for you." I take out pen and paper and begin writing. Then, at the most interesting part, the person stops and says "you're not going to write...

Repentance, prayer and tzedakah can avert the evil decree

"The year and its curses has ended." A Sephardic poem sung on Rosh Hashanah Eve repeats this refrain eight times before ending with a glimmer of hope, "May the year and its blessings begin." If we could only close the door and turn the key on everything that happened to the Jewish people and the...

My video divrei Torah on Rosh hashanah by Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVx0DgiHeH0 general http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFtbs1x_Fc8 blesings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xKwipaMg68 selihote http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktDfC8yhxhI prepare http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jR20-0sy1Y hear a...

Isaac’s Shofar

<strong>Isaac’s Shofar</strong> “Happy are the people that knows the shofar’s sound, they walk in God’s light.” What does it mean to “know the shofar’s sound? How can we walk in God’s light? What is a worthy life? These are among the questions we face today. In rabbinic literature, the...

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