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Yom Kippur

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Yonah vs. God: A Prophetic Polemic?
Yonah vs. God: A Prophetic Polemic?
This unmatched prophetic novella tells the story of a prophet fleeing his mission and God’s presence. This confounding behavior is difficult enough to understand – but why is this the last public reading of the season of introspection? This shiur will address Sefer Yonah both textually and liturgically.
A New Theory of Atonment: Marty McFly, the Scapegoat, the Chicken, and the Bread Crumbs
A New Theory of Atonment: Marty McFly, the Scapegoat, the Chicken, and the Bread Crumbs
In conversation with medieval commentaries, midrash, Chassidic texts, and Stephen Spielberg’s Back to the Future trilogy, we will develop a new theory of atonement. What is atonement and how does it differ from forgiveness? Is it really possible to change the past? And if you’re no longer responsible for your sins, then who is?
Fasting and Animal-Sacrifice
Fasting and Animal-Sacrifice
Why does God command us to kill animals when we’ve done something wrong? What does this have to do with atonement, Yom Kippur, and the Binding of Isaac? Are you ready to transform yourself into a living sacrifice, and is that what we do on Yom Kippur?
Selichot, part 1: Lishmoa El HaRina VeEl HaTefilla- Supplication and Prayer
Selichot, part 1: Lishmoa El HaRina VeEl HaTefilla- Supplication and Prayer
Click here for more in this series. The structure of selichot and the Ashkenazi practice of starting selichot on a Saturday night--BeMotza'ei Menucha  
Reflections on the Yamim Noraim: Are There Limits to Forgiveness?
Reflections on the Yamim Noraim: Are There Limits to Forgiveness?
part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Teshuva and Personal Identity
Teshuva and Personal Identity
To what extent is it possible to become a new person? Is that what teshuva demands? What does the concept of repentance have to teach us about what and who we really are?
Themes of Yom Kippur as Reflected in Our Liturgy
Themes of Yom Kippur as Reflected in Our Liturgy
Through an examination of the Yom Kippur prayer service, we will uncover major themes of the holiday.
All These Vows: The Kol Nidrei Conundrum
All These Vows: The Kol Nidrei Conundrum
Yom Kippur opens with this most powerful, albeit peculiar, communal prayer of Kol Nidrei. This year, part 1 of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series will explore the history and halakhah of this controversial tefillah with special focus on how annulling past and/or future vows sets the spiritual tone for the Day of Atonement. Part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Self and Sin: An Exploration of Teshuvah
Self and Sin: An Exploration of Teshuvah
The Hebrew word teshuvah is commonly translated as repentance but is more accurately rendered as return. This class will ask, ‘a return to what?’ Who is the real me? What does it mean to abandon a sinful past? We will explore biblical and rabbinic texts as well as medieval and modern thinkers, among them Maimonides, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Altar of Novardok, and Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. This recording is the first session of a multi-session course.
Confession and Repentance (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Confession and Repentance (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. We will look at a variety of biblical and rabbinic texts relating to the act of confession and the role of repentance.  
Piyyutim of the High Holidays (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Piyyutim of the High Holidays (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. High holiday services often seem dominated by intricate, often difficult to understand, liturgical poetry (piyyutim). We explore various piyyutim, uncovering layers of biblical and midrashic allusions.  
Day of Atonement: Atonement for What?
Day of Atonement: Atonement for What?
We often relate to our religious life on a technical level: Do / Don't; Develop / Don't develop particular feelings. In turn our perception of teshuva is grounded in this kind of understanding. Some Hassidic texts suggest that the challenge of religious life should be conceived on a different scale.
Responsibility and Reprieve in the Book of Jonah
Responsibility and Reprieve in the Book of Jonah
We will study the Book of Jonah, the Haftarah of Yom Kippur, looking at the themes of taking responsibility and not taking responsibility.
When Bad Things Happen to Good Biblical Characters: The Opposing Cases of Abraham and Job
When Bad Things Happen to Good Biblical Characters: The Opposing Cases of Abraham and Job
The Torah reading of the Akeidah is extremely difficult to understand, much like the Book of Job. What are these stories of personal tragedy inflicted on righteous individuals by a righteous God actually saying?
Yom Kippur or the Challenge of Authenticity
Yom Kippur or the Challenge of Authenticity
The central motive of Yom Kippur is teshuva (Repentance). In order to engage in the process of teshuva, one must first come to terms with oneself. Several elements of the Yom Kippur service are meant to enable us to engage on the challenging path of authenticity. Part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Symbolism and Meaning in the Seir Hamishtaleach: Reenacting the Story of Creation
Symbolism and Meaning in the Seir Hamishtaleach: Reenacting the Story of Creation
A midrashic analysis of the central sacrificial ritual of Yom Kippur. Part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Body and Soul: Understanding the Asceticism of Yom Kippur (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Body and Soul: Understanding the Asceticism of Yom Kippur (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. What is the connection between the restrictions of Yom Kippur and repentance? How do they help us achieve atonement?  
Thoughts on Yom Kippur
Thoughts on Yom Kippur
Reflecting upon our past to change our future allows for an educational form of teshuvah.
Confronting Personal Failure Towards Teshuvah
Confronting Personal Failure Towards Teshuvah
Recognizing personal failure is critical in the process of teshuvah. This podcast attempts to define the precise role confrontation with personal failure plays in the broader process of teshuvah, based on sources in Mikrah, Hazal and Rambam.
Kol Nidre: An Analysis of Its True Significance
Kol Nidre: An Analysis of Its True Significance
Kol Nidre, a nullification of vows, is one of the prayer highlights of the year. Why? We will explore the nature of Kol Nidre and uncover the great significance of this prayer.
Prayers of Yom Kippur: Me’erev ad erev
Prayers of Yom Kippur: Me’erev ad erev
Through an analysis of the five prayers of Yom Kippur, this podcast explores the concepts of Yom Kippur as they emerge from the service.
“To pray with transgressors”: Sin and Repentance in Medieval Ashkenaz
“To pray with transgressors”: Sin and Repentance in Medieval Ashkenaz
The High Holiday service traditionally commences with an authorization for the community members to pray with the transgressors in their midst. What are the origins of this medieval custom and what is its significance today?
Thoughts on Yom Kippur
Thoughts on Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur differs from Rosh Hashanah in that the day and its prayers focus on human possibility, not solely on God's majesty.
Shedding Sin: The Scapegoat Ritual of Yom Kippur
Shedding Sin: The Scapegoat Ritual of Yom Kippur
What is the true meaning of the Scapegoat Ritual as it's described in the Torah? Why is this unusual and provocative ritual the climax of the Avodah on Yom Kippur? What relevance does this ritual have for each and every one of us today?
The Death of the Martyrs: A Lesson for Living
The Death of the Martyrs: A Lesson for Living
We go into this time of year believing that we have control over the divine decree by committing to Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah. How does the brutal death of ten blameless, righteous leaders of a generation fit into this paradigm? Part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
From Purging the Temple to Cleansing Our Souls: Transformation in Atonement
From Purging the Temple to Cleansing Our Souls: Transformation in Atonement
Diving In: Insights Into the Book of Jonah
Diving In: Insights Into the Book of Jonah
This podcast engages in a literary-theological study of key passages of the Book of Jonah with an eye to uncovering key themes of the book. It particularly looks at how the book plays off previous biblical narratives and their messages.
“The whole world is inside and I am outside”: Midrashic Reflections on Erev Yom Kippur
“The whole world is inside and I am outside”: Midrashic Reflections on Erev Yom Kippur
This podcast discusses some of the midrashim which look at events that occurred on Erev Yom Kippur.
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses
How is the Selichot service different from our regular prayer service? Through analysis of its structure, key sections and themes, this podcast explores Selichot's Biblical roots and Rabbinic history in order to better understand its purpose and meaning.  Part of The Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Prayers of Yom Kippur (part 1 of 2 sessions)
Prayers of Yom Kippur (part 1 of 2 sessions)
Click here to listen to the other class session. We say more prayers on Yom Kippur than on any other day on the Jewish calendar. We will discuss several unique features in the prayers of Yom Kippur.
Major Themes of Yom Kippur
Major Themes of Yom Kippur
We will discuss the major themes of the holiday of Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur and the Imagination of the Aggadists
Yom Kippur and the Imagination of the Aggadists
We will examine selected aggadot in the Talmud relating to themes of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. We will explore certain central themes the rabbis attempted to highlight in their non-legal takes on the Yoma rabba (the great day) of the Jewish calendar.
Is God’s Presence Within Us?
Is God’s Presence Within Us?
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah
Our High Holiday prayers assume that each individual is judged by God on Rosh HaShanah, and that judgment is then sealed on Yom Kippur. Hence, the goal of our prayers is to "transform" the Judge's opinion in our favor. By distinguishing between "comprehension" and "intention" we will undertake a closer examination of prayer in both the siddur and machzor to show how its primary goal may focus much more on the "transformation" of the petitioner.
Can Sacrifice Atone a Sin: The Biblical Connection Between “Rite” and “Wrongs”
Can Sacrifice Atone a Sin: The Biblical Connection Between “Rite” and “Wrongs”
Yom Kippur and the Divine Attribute of Mercy
Yom Kippur and the Divine Attribute of Mercy
Shattering the Covenant and Reconstituting the Relationship with God
Teshuva Drasha
Teshuva Drasha
Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li – I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me: Forgiveness, Atonement, and Humility
Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li – I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me: Forgiveness, Atonement, and Humility
Fellow Passengers: Teshuva as a Community
Fellow Passengers: Teshuva as a Community
Judaism is unique in its approach to personal atonement by striving for collective Teshuva. How does we reconciling ourselves to each other ultimately reconcile us to God?