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, […]

Just Dance

It was told that in the shul of the great Chassidic Master, the Chozeh (Seer) of Lublin, they sang and danced on the night of Rosh Hashanah. When the Misnagdim, the anti-Chassidic proponents, heard of this they were taken aback. How could the so called great Rebbe allow dancing on the awesome Day of Judgment? […]

A Paradox

The High Holidays present us with a paradox. On the one hand, we stand before the heavenly court in judgment, unsure of our verdict, anxious about our fate for the coming year. On the other hand, we celebrate Rosh Hashanah and the day before Yom Kippur with joyous feasting in a festive atmosphere. How do […]

Chanukah – Of the Spirit

Chanukah and Purim differ drastically in their manner of observance and in the message that they convey. The Mitzvot of Purim revolve around the “physical” — we feast, drink, give gifts of food, and charity.  The message is clear: they tried to destroy us, so we celebrate by highlighting our continued physical existence. There is […]

Making Miracles

According to the Kabbalah, there are two types of miracles. One kind of miracle comes from “above”, with no participation from “below”.  An example of this are all the miracles surrounding the exodus from Egypt. The Jews sat passively while God reaked havoc on Egypt. The second kind of miracle is started “below” and is […]