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Akedat Yitzchak, Part 5

Posted: 09/22/2020
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 5

The binding of Isaac is both a Torah reading for Rosh Hashana and a central text in the Rosh Hashana liturgy. In addition, it is a foundational text of the Bible. Our class will engage in a close reading of the Akeda, the purpose of the test and its place within the Book of Genesis.

In addition, we will see how other biblical narratives pick up on essential elements of the Akeda and employ this drama as part of their narrative.

Ritual Re-enactments: Part 1, Becoming Moshe, a Mother, and a High Priest in the Yamim Noraim Tefillah

Posted: 09/08/2020
Ritual Re-enactments: Part 1, Becoming Moshe, a Mother, and a High Priest in the Yamim Noraim Tefillah
This series will focus on core pieces of the Selichot, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur liturgies. Specifically, we will explore the roles that our liturgy asks us to step into on these days and at these key moments. This class aims to enrich participants' experiences of these special tefillot, particularly in a year where many will be praying at home or in truncated synagogue services. In this first session we will explore the Thirteen Middot, the liturgical backbone of Selichot. As we look at the Torah texts that the Selichot draw upon and interpretations of those texts in the Talmud Bavli and commentators, we will dive head-first into the moment the Thirteen Middot were revealed and discuss how to reenact that moment as we step into the role of Moshe in our recitation of Selichot.
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 4

Posted: 09/15/2020
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 4

The binding of Isaac is both a Torah reading for Rosh Hashana and a central text in the Rosh Hashana liturgy. In addition, it is a foundational text of the Bible. Our class will engage in a close reading of the Akeda, the purpose of the test and its place within the Book of Genesis.

In addition, we will see how other biblical narratives pick up on essential elements of the Akeda and employ this drama as part of their narrative.

Intention and the Mitzvot of Tishrei, Part 2

Posted: 09/14/2020
Intention and the Mitzvot of Tishrei, Part 2
If, after a long day in shul on Rosh Hashana, my mind is wandering during shofar blowing, do I have to hear it again? Can the pergola in my backyard be my sukkah? In this three part lecture series, we will explore how intenton factors into the mitzvot central to Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. In this class we turn to Sukkot and the debate regarding whether the construction of the sukkah itself must be done for the purpose of the mitzvah.We will see how the underpinnings of this talmudic discussion are reflected in discussions of brit milah as well.
Ritual Re-enactments: Becoming Moshe, a Mother, and a High Priest in the Yamim Noraim Tefillah, Part 2

Posted: 09/15/2020
Ritual Re-enactments: Becoming Moshe, a Mother, and a High Priest in the Yamim Noraim Tefillah, Part 2

This series will focus on core pieces of the Selichot, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur liturgies. Specifically, we will explore the roles that our liturgy asks us to step into on these days and at these key moments.

This class aims to enrich participants' experiences of these special tefillot, particularly in a year where many will be praying at home or in truncated synagogue services.

Session 2 we will turn to Talmudic and liturgical texts about the Shofar's cries. As both the criers and the ones who knows cries the best, mothers will be the focus of this session, as we contemplate how Rosh Hashana liturgy asks us to enact motherhood.
Does the Book of Tehillim Tell A Story?

Posted: 09/16/2020
Does the Book of Tehillim Tell A Story?
The Annual Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holidays Lecture Sponsored by the Rudoff family on the occasion of the 29th yahrtzeit of their father, Stanley of blessed memory. The Book of Tehillim is traditionally regarded as an anthology of 150 distinct compositions. Is there an idea that underlies the order of these chapters? Does the book's design convey purpose or a story? In this shiur, we will examine the shape of the book of Tehillim, employing a close reading of the language of the psalms in a bid to uncover the book's overarching structure and meaning.
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 4

Posted: 09/13/2020
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 4

In addition to delineating the technical process of repentance, Jewish literature has also explored the emotions that are supposed to accompany this process. In this class we will trace The Emotions of Repentance from the medieval authorities (Rambam and Rabbeinu Yonah) through the great twentieth century thinkers, Rabbi Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Studying this topic comparatively will highlight the continuities and ruptures between the medieval and modern perspectives as well as the unique approaches of these three innovative and influential leaders. This session: The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a highly innovative interpreter of earlier Hassidic writings. This come to the fore in his talks on the proper mood of repentance in the late 20th century. We will also see how this specific issue reflects more broadly on his projects and goals.
Structure and Meaning in the High Holiday Liturgy, Part 4

Posted: 09/13/2020
Structure and Meaning in the High Holiday Liturgy, Part 4
This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Two sessions are devoted to the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot - and two sessions will focus on the Kol Nidre service and the confessions of Yom Kippur.
“Seek Me and Live” Hasidism and the Spiritual Journey, Part 3

Posted: 09/10/2020
“Seek Me and Live” Hasidism and the Spiritual Journey, Part 3
In the final session of this series we'll explore the spiritual quest as a journey undertaken as both individuals and in community, recognizing that each person has a unique path in this world but that in this quest we are supported, shaped and transformed by our friends and fellow-travelers.
How to Blow the Shofar, A “TOOT”Orial, Part 2

Posted: 09/09/2020
How to Blow the Shofar, A “TOOT”Orial, Part 2
Blowing the Shofar is simple – but not easy. Rabbi Silver will go over the basic concepts of proper lip position, posture, and breath control. Unless you are a trumpet player, the technique may seem unnatural at first. The real secret to mastering the Shofar is – that there’s no secret. It takes hours of dedicated practice. Rabbi Silver shares his own story of his road from utter failure to relative triumph the first year he blew Shofar at what was to later become the Drisha Minyan. In addition to teaching the basics of technique, Rabbi Silver offers enthusiastic encouragement for everyone hoping to participate in this important Mitzvah. “If I can do this,” says Rabbi Silver, “you can do it too. I guarantee it!” In this session we will learn the basic halakhot of the sounds (Ashkenazic style, as was done at the Drisha Minyan). Timing and counting, and when one is required to repeat. The session will end with another “Shofar-Out” and everyone will be encouraged to continue their progress as Shofar blowers. Bringing Mashiach is hard work!
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 3

Posted: 09/08/2020
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 3

The binding of Isaac is both a Torah reading for Rosh Hashana and a central text in the Rosh Hashana liturgy. In addition, it is a foundational text of the Bible. Our class will engage in a close reading of the Akeda, the purpose of the test and its place within the Book of Genesis.

In addition, we will see how other biblical narratives pick up on essential elements of the Akeda and employ this drama as part of their narrative.

Can We Change Our Character? Perspectives from the Bavli to the Musar Movement, Part 3

Posted: 09/07/2020
Can We Change Our Character? Perspectives from the Bavli to the Musar Movement, Part 3
This series investigates whether and how we might be able to change our characters. Using sources ranging from the Talmud to Maimonides's Mishneh Torah, to the Musar movement, we'll explore how our characters are formed, and what tools we might have when we decided that we need to change our dispositions and tendencies for the better. We'll pay particular attention to the role that interpersonal interactions between students and teachers and between friends can play in this process. This session: Using the thought of two early leaders in the Musar movement, R. Israel Salanter and R Simhah Zissel Ziv, we'll explore how Talmud Torah and Limmud Musar can work together to help us improve our character.
Intention and the Mitzvot of Tishrei, Part 1

Posted: 09/07/2020
Intention and the Mitzvot of Tishrei, Part 1
If, after a long day in shul on Rosh Hashana, my mind is wandering during shofar blowing, do I have to hear it again? Can the pergola in my backyard be my sukkah? In this three part lecture series, we will explore how intention factors into the mitzvot central to Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. In this first class, we will explore the talmudic debate as to whether one must have kavannah when sounding and hearing the shofar, and how this relates to the broader question of Mizvot Zerikhot Kavannah (do rituals need to be performed with intention) and how the rishonim and aharonim weighed in on this debate and decide the halakhah.
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 3

Posted: 09/06/2020
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 3

n addition to delineating the technical process of repentance, Jewish literature has also explored the emotions that are supposed to accompany this process. In this class we will trace The Emotions of Repentance from the medieval authorities (Rambam and Rabbeinu Yonah) through the great twentieth century thinkers, Rabbi Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Studying this topic comparatively will highlight the continuities and ruptures between the medieval and modern perspectives as well as the unique approaches of these three innovative and influential leaders. Session 3Rav Kook advised against embracing the traditional range of emotions associated with repentance in earlier Jewish literature.  This class will analyze the rationale for this conscious departure and the new texture of repentance for which Rav Kook advocated.
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 3

Posted: 09/06/2020
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 3

This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Two sessions are devoted to the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot - and two sessions will focus on the Kol Nidre service and the confessions of Yom Kippur.

“Seek Me and Live” Hasidism and the Spiritual Journey, Part 2

Posted: 09/03/2020
“Seek Me and Live” Hasidism and the Spiritual Journey, Part 2

These three sessions explore the endless search for God as a key theme in medieval and early-modern Judaism, with a particular emphasis on Hasidism and Jewish mysticism. The sources with which we engage portray religious life as an unceasing quest toward the Divine, an endless journey in which exegesis, self-discovery and sacred community are braided and richly intertwined. They present a thrilling religious sensibility in which the intellectual, spiritual and existential journey toward God is far more than a means to an end.

Hasidic sources put stock in the quest itself as both personally transformative and cosmically significant. Rather than religious uprush being born only in the successful devekut, or communion with the Divine, for the Hasidic masters God may be revealed with potency and majesty along the path itself.

In this session we'll explore a glowing Hasidic interpretation of the Selihot liturgy as a petition that God to be revealed in the process of prayer, and a reinterpretation of Psalm 27, the Psalm of Elul, that addresses the ever-higher vistas of religious seeking. We'll then read a sermon about  the infinite journey to grasp new interpretations of Torah, and, finally, we'll close by thinking together about  the importance of accepting the natural ups and downs -- or ebb and flow -- of spiritual energy while still continuing along the path. Come join the journey!
How to Blow the Shofar – A Toot-orial, Part 1

Posted: 09/02/2020
How to Blow the Shofar – A Toot-orial, Part 1

Blowing the Shofar is simple – but not easy. Rabbi Silver will go over the basic concepts of proper lip position, posture, and breath control. Unless you are a trumpet player, the technique may seem unnatural at first. The real secret to mastering the Shofar is – that there’s no secret. It takes hours of dedicated practice. Rabbi Silver shares his own story of his road from utter failure to relative triumph the first year he blew Shofar at what was to later become the Drisha Minyan. In addition to teaching the basics of technique, Rabbi Silver offers enthusiastic encouragement for everyone hoping to participate in this important Mitzvah. “If I can do this,” says Rabbi Silver, “you can do it too. I guarantee it!” 

Class 1: Rabbi Silver shares his personal story of trying to blow the Shofar, and of ultimately B”H “getting it.” The biggest challenge most first-time Shofar blowers must overcome is their own sense of awkwardness. Rabbi Silver will lead a mass “Shofar-Out,” encouraging everyone to experience for themselves the feel of their own Shofar. Then we will work on basics of technique: embouchure (lip position), stance, and breathing. 

Akedat Yitzchak, Part 2

Posted: 09/01/2020
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 2

The binding of Isaac is both a Torah reading for Rosh Hashana and a central text in the Rosh Hashana liturgy. In addition, it is a foundational text of the Bible. Our class will engage in a close reading of the Akeda, the purpose of the test and its place within the Book of Genesis.

In addition, we will see how other biblical narratives pick up on essential elements of the Akeda and employ this drama as part of their narrative.

Can We Change Our Character? Perspectives from the Bavli to the Musar Movement, Part 2

Posted: 08/31/2020
Can We Change Our Character? Perspectives from the Bavli to the Musar Movement, Part 2

In this series, we'll investigate whether and how we might be able to change our characters. Using sources ranging from the Talmud to Maimonides's Mishneh Torah, to the Musar movement, we'll explore how our characters are formed, and what tools we might have when we decided that we need to change our dispositions and tendencies for the better.

We'll pay particular attention to the role that interpersonal interactions between students and teachers and between friends can play in this process.

Part 2: Are the Gates of Teshuvah ever Locked?
Through a close reading of the 4th chapter of the Rambam's Hilkhot Teshuvah, we'll explore what kinds of behaviors and situations make tesuvah impossible. We'll see that, for the Rambam, teshuvah requires a community that is both supportive, and willing to give moral rebuke.
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 2

Posted: 08/30/2020
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 2

In addition to delineating the technical process of repentance, Jewish literature has also explored the emotions that are supposed to accompany this process. In this class we will trace The Emotions of Repentance from the medieval authorities (Rambam and Rabbeinu Yonah) through the great twentieth century thinkers, Rabbi Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Studying this topic comparatively will highlight the continuities and ruptures between the medieval and modern perspectives as well as the unique approaches of these three innovative and influential leaders. Part 2: We will explore Rav Soloveitchik’s painful but empowering approach to the emotions of repentance and contextualize it within the broader project of his thought.
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 2

Posted: 08/30/2020
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 2
This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
In this session we continue with the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot.
“Seek Me and Live” Hasidism and the Spiritual Journey Part 1

Posted: 08/27/2020
“Seek Me and Live” Hasidism and the Spiritual Journey Part 1

These three sessions explore the endless search for God as a key theme in medieval and early-modern Judaism, with a particular emphasis on Hasidism and Jewish mysticism. The sources with which we engage portray religious life as an unceasing quest toward the Divine, an endless journey in which exegesis, self-discovery and sacred community are braided and richly intertwined. They present a thrilling religious sensibility in which the intellectual, spiritual and existential journey toward God is far more than a means to an end.

Hasidic sources put stock in the quest itself as both personally transformative and cosmically significant. Rather than religious uprush being born only in the successful devekut, or communion with the Divine, for the Hasidic masters God may be revealed with potency and majesty along the path itself.

Session 1 explores the idea of the spiritual quest in the Zohar and the writings of Maimonides, finishing up with a brief but powerful teachings preserved in the name of the Baal Shem Tov. We will consider how each of these works describe the journey to know God as infinite and unattainable, and yet, worth undertaking because the spiritual richness is found in the process rather than in some imagined goal.
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 1

Posted: 08/25/2020
Akedat Yitzchak, Part 1
The binding of Isaac is both a Torah reading for Rosh Hashana and a central text in the Rosh Hashana liturgy. In addition, it is a foundational text of the Bible. This 5-part series will engage in a close reading of the Akeda, the purpose of the test and its place within the Book of Genesis. In addition, we will see how other biblical narratives pick up on essential elements of the Akeda and employ this drama as part of their narrative.
Can We Change Our Character? Perspectives from the Bavli to the Musar Movement, Part 1

Posted: 08/24/2020
Can We Change Our Character? Perspectives from the Bavli to the Musar Movement, Part 1

In this series, we'll investigate whether and how we might be able to change our characters. Using sources ranging from the Talmud to Maimonides's Mishneh Torah, to the Musar movement, we'll explore how our characters are formed, and what tools we might have when we decided that we need to change our dispositions and tendencies for the better.

We'll pay particular attention to the role that interpersonal interactions between students and teachers and between friends can play in this process.

Part 1: Is Teshuvah a Miracle?
In this session, we'll explore two rabbinic perspectives on teshuvah: One which sees it as a miraculous divine intervention on our behalf, and one which sees it as the product of character change that we work on ourselves. What does it mean to view teshuvah in these two different ways? How might these two apparently opposed views be connected?
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 1

Posted: 08/23/2020
The Emotions of Repentance: Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Part 1

In addition to delineating the technical process of repentance, Jewish literature has also explored the emotions that are supposed to accompany this process. In this class we will trace The Emotions of Repentance from the medieval authorities (Rambam and Rabbeinu Yonah) through the great twentieth century thinkers, Rabbi Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Studying this topic comparatively will highlight the continuities and ruptures between the medieval and modern perspectives as well as the unique approaches of these three innovative and influential leaders. Part 1: Introducing the range of emotions possibly associated with repentance.  We will then focus on Rambam and Rabbeinu Yonah and see how these texts were understood and experienced in traditional yeshivot. This will create a baseline to better appreciate the continuity and ruptures of 20th century Jewish thought.
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 1

Posted: 08/23/2020
Structure and Meaning in High Holiday Liturgy, Part 1
This series delves into the core motifs and themes in the liturgy of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Two sessions are devoted to the core texts of Rosh Hashana - Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofarot - and two sessions will focus on the Kol Nidre service and the confessions of Yom Kippur.
Stanley Rudoff Memorial High: Lynn Kaye: PreRH Workshop 09/13/2009

Posted: 09/13/2009
Stanley Rudoff Memorial High: Lynn Kaye: PreRH Workshop 09/13/2009
Rabbi Wendy Amsellem: Torah Readings Of Rosh HaShana 09/09/2014

Posted: 09/09/2014
Rabbi Wendy Amsellem: Torah Readings Of Rosh HaShana 09/09/2014
Stanley Rudoff Memorial High: Dr. Aaron Koller: PreRH Workshop 09/13/2009

Posted: 09/13/2009
Stanley Rudoff Memorial High: Dr. Aaron Koller: PreRH Workshop 09/13/2009
Ne’ilah: Ends and Beginnings

Posted: 10/06/2019
Ne’ilah: Ends and Beginnings
The Neilah prayer, the last of the five Yom Kippur Tefillot, is recited at the waning moments of the holiest day of the year. Exploring a range of liturgical, Talmudic and Halakhic texts, we will consider how Neilah serves to carry over Yom Kippur into the rest of the year. Located at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, 125 East 85th Street | New York, NY This lecture is free and open to the public, but please register in advance. Sponsored by the Rudoff family on the occasion of the 28th yahrzeit of Stanley Rudoff z”l.  
Viduy and Selichot: Process of Effective Teshuva

Posted: 10/03/2019
Viduy and Selichot: Process of Effective Teshuva
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Fast of Gedalia: Restoration and Reconnection

Posted: 09/27/2019
Fast of Gedalia: Restoration and Reconnection
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Dimensions of the Shofar

Posted: 09/27/2019
Dimensions of the Shofar
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Selichot: A Structured Additional Service

Posted: 09/27/2019
Selichot: A Structured Additional Service
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Viduy as a Path to Teshuva

Posted: 09/27/2019
Viduy as a Path to Teshuva
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Viduy of Ne’ilah

Posted: 09/27/2019
Viduy of Ne’ilah

The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.

   
Viduy: Sacrifice and Atonement

Posted: 09/27/2019
Viduy: Sacrifice and Atonement
The aseret yemei teshuva are a time of repentance, introspection and reconnection with God. They invite us to think about how we can continue to transcend our past and move forward with the tools of the High Holidays – kol shofar, selichot, and prayer. This is part of series of recorded thoughts from Rabbi David Silber about this time and what demands – drishot – it makes of us.
Tefillot of Rosh Hashana, Part 2

Posted: 09/20/2019
Tefillot of Rosh Hashana, Part 2
A study of the core themes of Rosh Hashana as reflected through the classical texts of the Rosh Hashana service. The goal of these classes is to deepen our understanding of the Rosh Hashana prayers to allow for a more meaningful and reflective holiday.
Tefillot of Rosh Hashana, Part 1

Posted: 09/12/2019
Tefillot of Rosh Hashana, Part 1
A study of the core themes of Rosh Hashana as reflected through the classical texts of the Rosh Hashana service. The goal of these classes is to deepen our understanding of the Rosh Hashana prayers to allow for a more meaningful and reflective holiday.
Love in the High Holy Days

Posted: 09/27/2017
Love in the High Holy Days
Aaron Koller on “Love in Akedat Yitzchak The first person in the Torah who “loves” another person is Abraham – and we hear of this love an instant before he is told to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice. Why does the Torah discuss love in this context? How does it affect the story of the Akedah, and how does the Akedah allow us to understand love for fellow humans, love for God, and the potential for a clash between those loves? Elana Stein Hain on “On Love, Hatred and Loyalty” During the Yamim Noraim season, we are bidden to consider our relationships to one another, to community and to God. In light of this tall task, in this shiur, we will explore the terms of אהבה and שנאה in Tanakh, with an eye towards how their definitions may guide us for the new year. This is part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series
Holy King: Music and Meaning in the Tefillot of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 09/18/2017
Holy King: Music and Meaning in the Tefillot of Rosh Hashana
Here Dr. Chaim Kranzler and Rabbi David Silber sing and discuss the highlights of the Rosh Hashana service.
Selichot, part 1: Lishmoa El HaRina VeEl HaTefilla- Supplication and Prayer

Posted: 01/12/2013
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  
Everyone Believes: Rosh Hashana and the Renewal of Faith

Posted: 28/10/2015
Everyone Believes: Rosh Hashana and the Renewal of Faith
In the prayers of the High Holy Days, we sing ‘Everyone Believes’ –  a poem by Yannai from the Byzantine Era. In this lecture, we’ll explore the nature of faith, ask whether God has faith in us, and recast the holiday of Rosh Hashana in terms of a renewal of faith: Human and Divine.
Commandment and Autonomy in the Story of Akeidat Yitzchak

Posted: 01/12/2013
Commandment and Autonomy in the Story of Akeidat Yitzchak
We will look at the themes of commandment and autonomy in the Torah reading of Rosh Hashana.
Zichronot: Memory, Judgement and Covenant, Understanding the Central Prayer of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Zichronot: Memory, Judgement and Covenant, Understanding the Central Prayer of Rosh Hashana
In this session, we will look at the themes of memory, judgement, and covenant in Zichronot (verses of remembrance), one of the three blessings we add to musaf on Rosh Hashana.
Imagining a Different World: The Prayer of Chana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Imagining a Different World: The Prayer of Chana
In this session, we will look at the haftarah of the first day of Rosh Hashana (I Samuel 1:1-2:10) and use it to gain a better understanding of the holiday.
Sister Wives? Sarah, Hagar, and the Day of Judgment

Posted: 14/11/2014
Sister Wives? Sarah, Hagar, and the Day of Judgment
The banishment of Ishmael and the Binding of Isaac - read on the first and second days of Rosh Hashana respectively - are often seen as companion stories of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his own children for God. But what of the mothers in these stories, Sarah and Hagar?  We will examine the two characters, their differences as well as uncanny similarities, in order to understand the root of their opposition to each other.
What’s God Doing on Rosh Hashana

Posted: 28/10/2015
What’s God Doing on Rosh Hashana
Do we believe that God is in time, or does He somehow stand outside of time? How is this question relevant to Rosh Hashana? Together we will think through some of these philosophical issues, and use them to interpret a puzzling Talmudic debate as to what we have to repent for each year.
You Can’t Fix What Isn’t Broken: The Indispensable Errors of Religious and Spiritual Growth

Posted: 09/08/2015
You Can’t Fix What Isn’t Broken: The Indispensable Errors of Religious and Spiritual Growth
A Rosh Hashana paradox: The longer we live the more we understand our lives as a story and a journey. We all have our developing life narratives. But our stories and journeys are complex and complicated. Ironically, the best of who we are today sometimes derives in part from some of the most serious faults and misdeeds of our yesterday. Making mistakes, both moral and religious, seems necessary for our individual spiritual development and growth. Teshuva, however, requires regretting what we did wrong however necessary it was for our growth. In this class, we will explore Jewish texts and our own life experience that deal with the paradox of repentance in a world of indispensable moral and religious errors. What exactly is regret about errors that were necessary for our moral and religious growth?  How do we avoid using the idea of necessary errors as an excuse for bad behavior? Is the logic of regret the same for “necessary sins” against other people as for “necessary sins” against God?  How can we sometimes consciously turn what was a sin into the origin of what is a positive good?
Themes of Rosh Hashana as Reflected in Our Liturgy (part 1 of a 2-session class)

Posted: 01/12/2013
Themes of Rosh Hashana as Reflected in Our Liturgy (part 1 of a 2-session class)
Click here to listen to the second session. Through an examination of the Rosh Hashana prayer service, we will uncover major themes of the holiday.
Thoughts on Rosh Hashana

Posted: 09/08/2015
Thoughts on Rosh Hashana
Confession and Repentance (part 1 of a 3-session course)

Posted: 01/12/2013
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)

Posted: 09/04/2014
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.  
Thoughts on Rosh Hashana

Posted: 09/24/2014
Thoughts on Rosh Hashana
How do the various calls of the Shofar represent our human vulnerabilities?
The Binder, the Bound, and the Altar: The Akeidah in High Holiday Liturgy

Posted: 01/12/2013
The Binder, the Bound, and the Altar: The Akeidah in High Holiday Liturgy
In this overview of the Zichronot section of our Rosh Hashana liturgy, we ask - why is remembrance so important to God's yearly judgement?
The Broken Sounds of the Shofar

Posted: 14/10/2014
The Broken Sounds of the Shofar
The Shofar is often thought of as a "word-less prayer". How might that model impact our everyday experience of tefilah?
When Bad Things Happen to Good Biblical Characters: The Opposing Cases of Abraham and Job

Posted: 09/18/2014
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?
Retrieving Ishmael: Torah Readings of Rosh Hashana (part 1 of a 3-session course)

Posted: 28/01/2014
Retrieving Ishmael: Torah Readings of Rosh Hashana (part 1 of a 3-session course)
Click here to listen to the other class sessions. An in-depth and midrashic analysis of the Torah readings of Rosh Hashana.  
Thoughts on Rosh Hashana

Posted: 09/29/2013
Thoughts on Rosh Hashana
Rosh Hashana forces us to step back and view ourselves as beings in G-d's world with certain implications of what our roles are therein.
Akeidat Yitzhak

Posted: 01/12/2013
Akeidat Yitzhak
The Surprising Origin of Tashlikh: A Journey into History, Halakhah and Minhag

Posted: 24/04/2015
The Surprising Origin of Tashlikh: A Journey into History, Halakhah and Minhag
This podcast examines the historical/halakhic sources of the extremely popular custom of tashlikh on Rosh Hashana. It explores the various permutations that led to the development of the contemporary custom and its underlying symbolisms.
Themes of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 09/11/2012
Themes of Rosh Hashana
What does the Torah's very limited description of Rosh Hashana teach us? Through textual comparison and rabbinic literature much can be inferred about the holiday and its traditions.
Understanding Our Selichot Service: A Rabbinic Tapestry of Biblical Themes and Verses

Posted: 14/11/2015
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.
Understanding the Mitzvah of Shofar in Tanakh and Halakhah

Posted: 24/04/2015
Understanding the Mitzvah of Shofar in Tanakh and Halakhah
This podcast examines  biblical and rabbinic sources to uncover the underlying themes and purposes that the Torah and subsequent halakhic development saw in this central ritual of Rosh Hashana that continues to play such a critical role in our understanding of the High Holidays.
Making Sense Out of Musaf: Using Tanakh to Explain Our Rosh Hashana Makhzor

Posted: 09/04/2011
Making Sense Out of Musaf: Using Tanakh to Explain Our Rosh Hashana Makhzor
It can be difficult enough just to follow the prayer service on Rosh Hashana, let alone to understand what is going on in the Makhzor. We will explain the basic biblical concepts that lay behind our special High Holiday prayers, focusing primarily on the structure and basic themes of the lengthy Musaf service.
Prayers of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Prayers of Rosh Hashana
We will discuss the prayers of Rosh Hashana.
Major Themes of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Major Themes of Rosh Hashana
We will discuss the major themes of the holiday of Rosh Hashana.
Fast of Gedalia: Then and Now

Posted: 09/12/2010
Fast of Gedalia: Then and Now
The Fast of Gedalia mourns the extinguishing of the last ember of Jewish leadership in the Kingdom of Judah. How could the death of one person measure up against the destruction of all of Jerusalem and the Temple? Part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Gates of Favor: Sephardic Cadences of the Akeida

Posted: 21/07/2015
Gates of Favor: Sephardic Cadences of the Akeida
New Year, Judgment Day, and Coronation: The Many Faces and Single Nature of Rosh Hashana

Posted: 07/09/2015
New Year, Judgment Day, and Coronation: The Many Faces and Single Nature of Rosh Hashana
Prayer as a “Transformative” Experience: From Daily Kriyat Shema to Yom Kippur Neilah

Posted: 09/14/2009
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 Hashana, 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.
Hagar, Ishmael, and the Phantom Akeidah

Posted: 07/10/2014
Hagar, Ishmael, and the Phantom Akeidah
Hannah’s Prayers

Posted: 01/29/2008
Hannah’s Prayers
The Haftarah of Rosh Hashana, Day 1 - Hannah's Aloneness and Divine Kingship and Human Responsibility 
The Redemption of Sarah

Posted: 01/12/2013
The Redemption of Sarah
The Torah Reading of Rosh Hashana, Day 1 - Conflicting Perceptions of Family and Abraham's Vindication of Sarah
The Binding of Isaac and the Banishment of Ishmael

Posted: 01/12/2013
The Binding of Isaac and the Banishment of Ishmael
The Binding of Isaac- The Torah Reading of Rosh HaShana, Day 2: Part 1
Abraham’s Discovery of the Sacred Place

Posted: 01/12/2013
Abraham’s Discovery of the Sacred Place
The Binding of Isaac- The Torah Reading of Rosh Hashana, Day 2: Part 2
Binding of Isaac: Reading for Rosh Hashana

Posted: 01/12/2013
Binding of Isaac: Reading for Rosh Hashana
The Akeidah plays a significant Role in the Torah reading and liturgy of Rosh Hashana. We will examine this story in the context of Abraham's relationship to God and God's Covenant with our ancestors.
What Have They Done to My Holiday, or Rosh Hashana Through the Ages

Posted: 28/09/2015
What Have They Done to My Holiday, or Rosh Hashana Through the Ages
The Torah dubs Rosh Hashana the "Day of Trumpet Blasts;" it is not presented as the beginning of the New Year, and certainly not as a day of divine judgment. What does this holiday's evolution through post-biblical Jewish writings, the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud teach us about the very idea of Torah? Part of the Stanley Rudoff Memorial High Holy Day Lecture Series.
Centrality of Aleinu on Rosh Hashana: A Biblical Perspective on the Concept of Malchiot in Musaf

Posted: 14/11/2015
Centrality of Aleinu on Rosh Hashana: A Biblical Perspective on the Concept of Malchiot in Musaf
Malchiot, declaring God's Kingdom, emerges as one of the central themes of our prayers on Rosh Hashana. We will begin by tracing the concept of malchiot in the Bible and its relation to the Covenant between God and His People. We will then study the malchiot section of musaf, which is introduced by Aleinu Leshabayach.