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Rosh Hashanah – Reaching Yourself

  Shalom and Bracha!

  May Hashem grant peace and secure borders in the land of Israel and bless you, your entire family, and all of those who are dear to you with a healthy, happy, prosperous successful and sweet new year and may we see the redemption through Moshiach immediately!
 

  In the prayer “Untaneh Tokef”, during the Musaf of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we say that on Rosh Hashanah we are inscribed, and on the fast of Yom Kippur it is sealed, who shall live… who shall be wealthy… who shall live peacefully…and we conclude and Teshuva and Tefillah and Tzedakah take away the evil of the decree. The general translation of these words is repentance, prayer, and charity. A deeper look at the Hebrew, however, will afford us a deeper understanding.
 

  The meaning of Teshuvah is returning. The nature of a Jew is that he wants to serve Hashem. If we transgress, we are straying from our nature. A beautiful demonstration can be brought from Jewish divorce law. A divorce must be given of free will. If a husband is forced to give a divorce, although the Get (contract of divorce) is written and given in accordance with Halachah, the divorce is null and void. If Jewish law determines that a man must divorce his wife, he must still give his consent. However, even if he was forced to give his consent, the divorce is valid. The Rambam explains that this is not a farce. Being that it is the true will of every Jew to do whatever the Torah commands, when he gives consent, he is expressing the true wish of his heart. On the contrary, his resistance is because of the duress of the Yetzer Hara (evil inclination). When we do Teshuvah, we are returning to our essence.
 

  The word prayer connotes beseeching and supplication. The word Tefillah connotes binding. Through Tefillah, we become bound with Hashem, the source of all blessings. As such, our needs are His needs, and His needs are ours. Our prayers are answered because they are Hashem’s desire.
 

  The word Tzedakah comes from the word Tzedek, which means justice. Everything in the world is created and distributed by Hashem for a specific purpose. When we are given something for one purpose and we use it for another, it is the opposite of justice. When we use it for the right purpose, it is justice. Just as Hashem gives us wealth, he commands us to use a portion thereof for Tzedakah. When we do so, it is righteous and just. Further, by providing the needs of the needy, we emulate Hashem, who’s relationship with all of creation is a charitable benefactor. Emulating Hashem is the trait of a Tzaddik, which is related in Hebrew to the word Tzedakah.
 

  May Hashem accept our Teshuvah Tefillah and Tzedakah and grant us the best year possible and may we merit this year to the Grand Teshuvah, the return of the Jewish people to our true place which is the land of Israel and our to true state which is freedom from Galut through the coming of Moshiach immediately.  
 

 Ketivah Vachatimah Tovah and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

B"H

Rosh Hashanah Guide

Wednesday Eruv Tavshilin

NY City Candle lighting Wednesday 6:26

Candle Lighting Thursday after 7:23 from an existing flame

Candle Lighting Friday 6:23 from an existing flame

Shabbat ends 7:20

For candle lighting times around the world

http://www.chabadgn.com/calendar/candlelighting.htm

The Fast of Gedalia is Sunday until 7:04 p.m.

  This year is very special in that Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret all fall on Thursday and Friday. Although it is permitted to cook, light candles, and carry on the holiday in preparation for Shabbat, there is a special Mitzvah we must perform, called an Eruv Tavshilin. A Challah is to be taken together with a cooked piece of food, such as an egg or piece of meat or fish, and handed to a second party, while saying “I hereby grant a portion is this Eruv to anyone who wishes to participate and depend on it.” Then the first party takes back the food and says “Baruch Ata Adonay Elohaynu Melech Haolam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu Al Mizvat Eruv- Through this it shall be permitted for us to bake, cook, store, light candles, and do all that is necessary to prepare on Yom Tov for Shabbat together with all Jews within this city.” This is a demonstration of respect for the holiday, because we begin our preparations for Shabbat on Wednesday and only finish off on the holiday, rather than making Friday a regular cooking day. The Challah and food must be kept for Shabbat. There is a custom to eat them at the the last Shabbat meal, Seudah Shlishit.
 

  After services Wednesday night we wish each other “L’shanah Tovah Tikateiv V’Teichateim-May you be written and inscribed for a good year”. The Challah is dipped in honey rather than salt. This symbolizes our wish for a sweet year.
 

After eating the Challah, pieces of apple are dipped in honey. The blessing Baruch Atta A-donai E-lohainu Melech Haolam Boray P’ree Haeitz is made and the special prayer Yehi Ratzon Shetchadeish Aleinu Shana Tovah Umetukah, May it be your will to renew upon us a sweet and good year, is said before eating the apple.
 

Thursday afternoon Tashlich is said. The custom is to go to a natural body of water that has fish and say the Tashlich prayer, symbolizing throwing our sins into the ocean. The presence of fish repels the evil eye.
 

  Thursday night, candles must be lit after nightfall from an existing flame. This is because although transferring flame is allowed on Holidays, creating flame is not. A new fruit should be placed on the table at candle lighting and Kiddush. When the blessing Shehechiyanu is said, one should have in mind the new fruit. The fruit should be eaten immediately after Kiddush, with a blessing Baruch Atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech Haolam Boray Pree Ha’eitz.
 

  Friday night, candles must be lit before sunset from an existing flame.
 

  Saturday night regular Havdalah is made.

  Sunday is the fast of Gedaliah. It is the final of the four fasts for the destruction of the Temple. May Hashem hear our prayers and rebuild the Temple immediately.
 

  Three consecutive days of holiness form a powerful bond. May it be Hashem’s will that they usher in the eternal bond of holiness with the coming of Moshiach.

In merit of Rachamim Ben Tzilah

B"H

Shabbat Shuvah- Ha’azinu

Shalom and Bracha!

May Hashem grant peace in and secure borders in Israel and seal the inscription for you, your entire family, and all those who are dear to you for a healthy, happy, prosperous and sweet new year and may we see the redemption through Moshiach immediately!
 

  Rosh Hashanah is the only holiday that is observed for two days both in Israel and throughout the world. As a result, there are always seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The significance thereof is that on Rosh Hashanah we renew our acceptance of Hashem as our king and to imbue our lives with the spirit of Torah. We are given one of each of the days of the week to demonstrate the strength of our resolve. The Ari Hakadosh explains that each of the intermediate days serves as an opportunity to do Teshuvah for the corresponding days of the past year (Friday for all the past Fridays, Shabbat for all the past Shabbats, etc.) and is also the source of blessing for the corresponding days of the coming year.
 

  As Teshuvah entails introspection concerning the past and positive resolution concerning the future, a full week allows us to do Teshuvah concerning every aspect of our lives. As such, Shabbat Shuvah is the quintessential Shabbat of the year, encompassing all of the previous Shabbats of the year and preparing for all the Shabbats of the coming year. When the first of the seven days falls on Shabbat, it brings a spirit of joy into the entire Teshuvah process.
 

  All of our prayers are expressed in the plural. This is because our responsibility to Hashem is a communal one. As such, our inspiration of Teshuvah must be shared with our fellow Jews. We thereby demonstrate that our service of Hashem is not only based on our desire to be closer to Hashem, but on Hashem’s desire to be closer to the Jewish people. The Rebbe once suggested that each person should have a Minyan whom he has brought closer to Torah.

 
This week’s portion is Ha’azinu, in which Hashem takes the heavens and the earth as witnesses that He has given us the Torah and if we observe it we will be rewarded, and if not, other things will happen. The purpose of the portion is to exhort us to do Teshuvah. The word Ha’azinu means listen. This is a Shabbat to listen: listen to Hashem; listen to what the Torah is saying; listen to the depths of our hearts and souls; listen to the needs of those around us; listen to the good angels Hashem sends us to put us on the right path; listen to the spark of G-d in every part of the world crying out to be used for good. Interestingly, Ha’azinu is written in the Torah as a song. (The songs in the Torah are written in a special manner.) This teaches us that Teshuvah must be an act of joy. Rather than concentrating on the negative of the past, we must celebrate coming closer to Hashem.
 

The Haftara begins “Shuvah (hence the name Shabbat Shuvah) Yisrael Ad Hashem Elokecha” “Return Israel unto Hashem your G-d.” The exact translation is until Hashem your G-d. The use of the term until warrants deeper understanding. In this week’s portion, the Torah says that the Jewish people are a portion of Hashem. Chassidic teaching explains that each Jew has within him a portion of Hashem’s name. In Hebrew, the name Hashem represents G-d in His essence that transcends the nature of the world. The term Elokecha refers to our power and life. The Haftara teaches us we must return to Hashem until we feel that our power and life is the Divine energy that transcends the world. When we feel that our very life is G-d’s energy, we must live in accordance with His will, because the Torah is our life connection.
 

  Further in the portion, we are referred to as the People redeemed by Hashem. May Hashem redeem each of us from our private problems and the entire world from all negativity through the coming of Moshiach.
 

  Shabbat Shalom and Gmar Chatima Tovah,

 Rabbi Biggs
 

In memory of Rebbetzin Chana Shneerson, the Rebbe’s mother, on the occasion of her Yahrtzeit

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