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Weekly Email by Rabbi Moss

Thousands of people enjoy the wisdom and inspiration of Rabbi Moss' weekly emails.

Why Two Days Yomtov?

 

Question of the Week

Why on earth do we still keep two days of Yomtov outside of Israel? I know the history: in ancient times people didn't have calendars on their phones, because the calendar was not set in advance, but rather month by month. When witnesses saw the new moon they reported it to the rabbis in the Temple, and the rabbis would declare that a new month had begun. It would take a couple of weeks for the message to reach outlying communities, so they could never be sure of the correct date to celebrate the festivals. So the Diaspora communities kept two days to be on the safe side. 

That made sense back then, but for heavens sake, we have calendars today! Why do we still keep two days in… Read More »

Post Yom Kippur Blues?

 

Question of the Week

I think I have the post Yom Kippur blues. Every year I get all inspired by the fast, and am sure that I will be more committed to Judaism in the year ahead. But somehow it dissipates pretty quick (like around the third mouthful after breaking the fast). I don't want to lose it again this year. Any suggestions?

Answer

I know just what you need. You need to be swaddled.

A newborn baby, moments after birth, is taken by a midwife and wrapped up in a swaddling cloth. This serves to keep the  newborn protected and warm. Having just emerged from the security and nurture of the womb, the baby is particularly vulnerable and sensitive. A good swaddling cloth gives him a sense of protection from the cold and… Read More »

I'm Only Going to Say This Once

 

Question of the Week

Why is there so much repetition in the Yom Kippur prayers? We say the silent Amidah prayer and then the Cantor repeats it out loud, and we do this five times. We recite the exact same confession of our sins over and over again - I think it's ten times! My mother used to say: "Listen carefully, I'm only going to say this once!" Can't we say the same and avoid all the repetition?

Answer

Yankel bumps into his friend Berel on a street corner. "Yankel! I lent you ten thousand dollars over a year ago. I still haven't seen a cent. When do you plan to pay me back?"

"I'm sorry Berel, but times are tough," answers Yankel. "I can't pay you back. Maybe… Read More »

The Time and Place to Take a Knee

 

THE TIME AND PLACE TO TAKE A KNEE

One of the highlights of the High Holiday prayers is when we bow down to the floor. It's the only time in the year that we do this. While we often bow our heads in prayer, only on the High Holidays do we fall to our knees, face down. If you walked into shul just at that moment, you would think everyone had left. But really they are all flat on the ground, bowing to G-d.

This was done regularly in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Divine presence was so palpable there, the holiness so overwhelming, a visitor to the Temple found themselves bowing to the floor almost involuntarily, overcome by the awesomeness of G-d. 

But since the destruction of the Temple, such revelations… Read More »

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