Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Divrei Torah for Rosh HaShanah

Here are some words of Torah for the Jewish New Year:

~ From Rav Shai Held and Rav Avi Killip of Mechon Hadar

Rav Held:  " . . . HaShanah liturgy makes a startling claim: Rupture at the heart of the Jewish people is not just an ethical or communal problem, it’s also a theological one. If we hate one another, we
cannot serve God. As we search ourselves over these days, let us also ask: How can I love Jewish people (not just the Jewish people, but actual Jewish persons, even ones with whom I vehemently disagree) even as I strive to love God? I cannot bypass the former to get to the latter. We cannot serve God without loving each other."

~ From Rav Shlomo Riskin of Ohr Torah Stone

"We must live so that we may remain God’s witnesses and “a light unto the nations of the world” (Isaiah 42:6)."

~  Al HaAchdut (on  Jewish unity), from Rachelle Fraenkel, mother of murdered teenaged terrorist victim Naftali Fraenkel

"We are one family, and I am my brother's keeper. . . .   Let's all choose an act, large or small, to keep the spirit of those days alive.  It was said, 'We went out searching for the boys, and we discovered ourselves.'"

~ From Rav Dov Linzer of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

"This Kingship teshuvah calls on us to see differently, to envision a more perfect world, to refuse to accept all the problems of the world, all the problems in our communities, all the problems in our personal lives, as unfixable and as givens. It demands that we “remove the obstructions from our eyes,” that we see new horizons, that we see the world not as it is but as it can be.

This teshuvah is self-directed as well. It asks us to look at our own self-focused work in a different light than that to which we have been accustomed. Do not start by asking what you have done wrong and how you can stop yourself from repeating those actions. Start, rather, by closing your eyes and by envisioning what the ideal you looks like."

~  From  Rav Asher Lopatin and rabbinical student Avram Schwartz, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah



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