Elul – Getting Ready

A Chassidic story: A wealthy merchant would regularly visit the Baal Shem Tov and would donate large sums of money for the Rebbe’s charitable causes. Eventually his fortune changed and his business failed, leaving him nearly penniless. When he went to visit the Rebbe again the Baal Shem, undoubtedly aware of the man’s dire straits, […]

Shiva Etiquette

The rules of etiquette relating to visiting a Shiva house are designed to help the mourners deal with the pain and sorrow of their loss, and begin the slow healing process. It is important for visitors to familiarize themselves with these rules of etiquette so that they can assist, rather than disrupt, this important stage […]

Nachamu – Consolation

The Shabbat directly following the fast of Tisha B’av is called Nachamu or “be consoled”. The name is taken from the prophet Isaiah who prophesizes the return of the Jewish people from their exile to Israel. The prophecy begins with the words, “Nachamu, Nachamu”. Whenever there is, what seems to be, a superfluous word in […]

Tearing Kriyah

Many of the prohibitions and customs relating to the day of Tisha B’av are the same that relate to a mourner. For example, we sit on the floor and refrain from greeting people. Why then do we not tear kriyah, one of the most fundamental signs of intense mourning, on Tisha B’av? One possible answer […]

Tisha B’av – Mourning Details

This Wednesday night, we will observe Tisha B’av, the day on which both of our holy temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. It is a time of sadness, mourning, and reflection. It’s really almost impossible to feel true sadness and loss for a Temple that has been gone for nearly 2ooo years. No one ever seen […]