Friday, September 18, 2009

L'shana Tova Umetuka!!

The Rosh Hashono scene is set!
The Shofar, prayer books, apples & honey, festively-set tables and a new life-force emerging to sustain the world.

On Rosh Hashanah the world is new. It’s life-force is qualitatively different that of any previous year -- a spiritual color never seen before. We cannot see this profound renewal, but its effects are real.
For each of us individually, this means new potential for spiritual growth and development. Rosh Hashanah shakes us out of our spiritual slumber, hence the Shofar blasts, to reconnect to our source and recommit to our divine mission in this world.

On the threshold of the New Year, each of us pauses to draw up а balance sheet for the past year. With unflinching honesty we review and assess our past actions and reactions, and resolve to better ourselves. Thus committed, we confidently pray for а happy year, both materially and spiritually, for ourselves and our loved ones.

And for the world at large we fervently pray that this year will bring the coming of Moshiach -- and a transformation unfathomably joyous and complete, where our confusion and burdens are lifted and our unity is revealed.

Our Sages say that giving Tzedoko, charity, to the needy opens the way for our prayers to bring us good health, prosperity and happiness.

Wishing you and yours, and all the House of Israel, a sweet, prosperous, and meaningful new year!

For the convenience of those who would like to donate online, visit

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Candelighting time Friday night for Los Angeles is 6:38 p.m. and Saturday night after 7:40 p.m.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

"One more blast"

Rebbi Chaim Elazar Spira, known as the Minchat Elazar, loved his grandson, Tzvi, in a exaggerated way.

On the first day of the month of Elul when he blew the Shofar, as is the custom, Tzvi was in the room and was visibly excited by its sounds.

He asked his grandfather for one more blast, and his grandfather gladly obliged. For the remainder of the month, this became a ritual; the Rebbe blowing the shofar each day for little Tzvi. On the day before Rosh Hashanah, Tzvi was there, awaiting his daily blast, but he was disappointed.

"Today is the day before Rosh Hashanah," his grandfather explained. "Today we do not blow the shofar. Tomorrow, on Rosh Hashana, we will blow the shofar in the synagogue."

The child did not comprehend. He kicked and screamed, "One more blast! One more blast!"

After a while, the grandfather softened at the sound of his favorite grandchild crying, and he took the shofar and blew one blast.

The next day, the Rebbe went up before the ark, opened it and said: "Master of the Universe, I have to repent. It's written that on the day before Rosh Hashanah one mustn't blow shofar, yet I did." He then began to cry and continued, "do you know why I transgressed this custom? It was because my young grandchild lay on the floor begging and crying that I should only blow one blast of the shofar for him. My heart melted, I couldn't bear to watch him cry and so I blew once for him.

"Tatte (Father), how can You stand by and see how millions of Your children are down on the floor, and crying out to You?! Tatte, one blast! Sound the blast of the "Great Shofar" which will herald the final Redemption! Even if the time for Moshiach has yet to arrive, Your children are crying out to You, Grant them their request!

Moshiach Now!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crowning Hashem as our King.

The fundamental theme of Rosh Hashanah is the coronation of G-d as King over us.

In addition to the collective aspects of Rosh Hashanah worship, the coronation renews each Jew’s personal bond with G-d, his direct inner connection as an individual. Each man and woman personally asks G-d to accept the coronation, thus creating the bond of,“We are your people and You are our King.”

As expressed in our heartfelt prayer and request to G-d: "Reign over the entire world!"

Such a request implies the readiness to utterly submit to the divine king, to the point that one's entire being, and all that one has, is the king's alone. This is the meaning of kabalat ol--"the acceptance of the yoke" of the divine sovereignty, which finds expression in all areas of daily life.

Every day must bring an acceptance of the yoke of Heaven, particularly when one recites the Shema. Rosh Hashanah however, is a time when submission to the sovereignty of Heaven is also the quality and content of the day. And this is the foundation of all our deeds throughout the year.

It is incumbent upon us to achieve a full acceptance of the divine kingship.

When a person who does not usually surrender his independence and his convictions, is convinced that he must recognize and submit to a higher authority, this decision is made on a much deeper and more fundamental level and is substantiated by an unshakable commitment.

May you to be inscribed and sealed for a sweet new year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shofar -(Change now)

The main mitzva (commandment) of the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana is to hear the blowing of the shofar. More than the apples dipped in honey, more than the beautiful prayers, more than the festival meal, we must hear the shofar blown. This year, because the first day of Rosh Hashana is on Shabbat, we only have one opportunity to hear the shofar blown - on Sunday, the second day of Rosh Hashana.

The Torah was given in the presence of a strong, constantly increasing, shofar blast. The G-dly revelation at that time was so intense that "their souls flew out of their bodies"; they were taken out of their worldly boundaries and elevated to a much higher plane.

The "Great Shofar," which will be blown upon the arrival of Moshiach will also cause us to break out of the limitations of this physical world and reach to a higher level of existence. And the prerequisite for this transformation is the desire to change, which must be present now, before Moshiach has arrived.

The shofar inspires one to abandon one's previous level in order to reach higher levels. We can and must achieve an inner change. And the time for change is now, even before the Rosh Hashana begins.

May we hear, this year, the sounding of the Great Shofar in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem with Moshiach, NOW!