Kol Nidrei Drasha: The Gates of Repentance (Hebrew & English)

דרשה לכל נדרי - שערי תשובה שלום וכתיבה וחתימה טובה לכולכם, המשנה בסוף מסכת יומא מתארת ​​את יום כיפור כמקווה, והלילה אנחנו מתחילים את הטבילה הארוכה שלנו לעשרים וחמש שעות…

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Insights to the Rosh Hashana Tefilot

Below is a collection of insights for the Kriat HaTorah and Musaf prayers on Rosh Hashanah which I delivered at Machon Ma’ayan on Rosh Hashanah 5777. While the insights originate…

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40 quotes for 40 days

Over the years I have collected hundreds of inspirational quotes from a variety of Jewish and general sources. Here are 40 of those quotes which I hope you find both…

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Is Ellul about renewal or repentance?

This Motzei Shabbat is the first of Ellul, and from Sunday morning onwards until Yom Kippur, with the exception of Shabbatot and Erev Rosh Hashanah, a Shofar will be blown…

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Tu B’shvat

Tonight, Jews throughout the world are celebrating Tu Bishvat, often referred to as the ‘birthday for trees’. The source for Tu Bishvat is the Mishna Rosh Hashanah 1:1 in which…

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Why don’t we confess on Rosh Hashanah?

“Mirror, signal, manouvre”. These three words, which are the mantra of all driving instructors, succinctly express the idea that before travelling forward in a vehicle you need to look back…

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Redefining Simcha (Adar)

Life can be stressful. While there are moments in life when things go well, there are also situations that we encounter when things do not go to plan; as Shlomo…

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The shofar teaches us about the meaning of life

Embedded in the legal discussions regarding the methods of prayer and the shape of the shofar is a fascinating theological debate regarding our priorities in life. Simply put, should we…

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Hugging is better than kissing (Shavuot)

There are a number of reasons given as to why Megillat Rut is read on Shavuot.  For example, the Yalkut Shimoni explains that we read Megillat Ruth on Shavuot to…

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Fragrant Jewish Living (Shavuot)

Chag Sameach! Thanks to Rabbi Davis and thanks to you all for your warm welcome. As we know, Shavuot is a festival of customs. For example, we have a custom…

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Humility as a prerequisite for receiving the Torah (Shavuot)

Shalom, Chag Sameach, and thank you so much for your generous welcome! Today, as we celebrate Shavuot, I would like to discuss a value that is so inextricably linked to…

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Standing and learning together (Shavuot)

Today we celebrate Shavuot and commemorate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. This was and remains a momentous event in our history and in the history of the…

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Cherishing the moments of Seder night

Tonight we will be sitting round a Seder table and reading through the Haggadah with family and/or friends. However, while it is certainly praiseworthy to read the Haggadah and to…

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The fast of Tevet

8TH, 9TH & 10TH OF TEVET This week is the fast of the Tenth of Tevet. However, while we only fast on the 10th of Tevet, this fast was established to commemorate…

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Sukkot, Hospitality and the third Beit HaMikdash

The word ‘Sukkot’ appears three times in the Torah (see Vayikra 23:42-43). Yet, while on the first two occasions the hebrew word ‘Sukkot’ is ‘chaser’ (meaning that the word appears…

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Tu B’Av

This week we celebrate Tu B’Av (literally, the 15th day of the hebrew month of Av). According to the Mishna (Ta’anit 4:8), both Tu B’Av and Yom Kippur were days…

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Tisha B’Av and the Individual

This Motzei Shabbat/Sunday is Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish year. On Tisha B’Av we mourn the destruction of both Temples along with many other tragedies that have…

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Erev Rosh Hashanah at Yad Avshalom

Rosh Hashanah has a dual identity. It is a day of hope and celebration on which we look towards the future (which is why we don’t confess on Rosh Hashanah),…

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The comforts and discomforts of Sukkot

This week we will be celebrating the festival of Sukkot, and though Sukkot in Israel is truly magnificent, the reason we dwell in our sukkot is not to provide us…

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The growth of Tu B’shvat

Tonight is Tu B'Shvat, and many Jews around the world will hold a Tu B'Shvat seder or eat some extra fruit. But what is the history of Tu B'Shvat and…

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The day the music died (3 weeks)

It is the custom of many Jews to refrain from listening to instrumental music during the Three Weeks, and many people – myself included – often struggle to cope with…

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