Parsha Breish’t 5771: Completion and New Beginnings; The Never-Ending Torah

by Moshe Burt

Somehow, not being rabbinic or a Talmud Chacham, it has always seemed difficult to put a true and deep meaning of Hashem’s creation to words to express the continuim of the end and the beginning of Torah.

In Hashem’s expression of creation; “Breish’t, Bora, Kelokim.” (“In the beginning, Hashem created the heavens and the earth”, (Sefer Breish’t, Perek 1, posuk 1) Torah surely wasn’t referring to that parody of Major League Baseball; you know the one, ‘In the big inning.’ [...]  Click here to read more.

Succot 5771: Moshiach, Redemption — Are We Systemically Programmed for Personal, Collective Success or Failure?

by Moshe Burt

Having emerged from Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and, hopefully we have all been inscribed and sealed for a happy, healthy, successful and meaningful year and years ahead, we find ourselves in the midst of Succot.

During Succot, the B’nai Yisrael, as an Am Segula (a nation apart and unique from the other nations), as Hashem’s special, chosen people, visit, bond, and celebrate our special and unique relationship with HaKodosh Borchu.

Prominent in our thoughts during Succot are the Haftorahs which the prophecy of the War of Gog and Magog, Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima (the Redemption) and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash are pronounced. Or, as the expression goes among baseball fans each springtime — right down to the fans of the most hapless MLB team; “Hope springs eternal.” [...]  Click here to read more.

Yom Kippur 5771: Kohanim and the Jews; Do the Jews Measure Up as Paradigm for Mankind?

by Moshe Burt

The Mussaf portion of any prayers; Yom Tov, Rosh Chodesh, Shabbos represent the essence, the main point of that day.

On Yom Kippur, the essence of the service, the ikar is the avodah of the Kohen Godol. So much so is this the case that the Mussaf service centers around the order of the Kohen Godol’s service in the Kodosh Kodoshim (the Holy of Holies in the Beit HaMikdash). The service includes all of the preparations which the Kohen Godol makes prior to the service, the clothing he must wear at each step of the avodah, the number of times that the Kohen must bathe himself prior to each change of clothing and before each step of his service, the drawing of lots determining which goat is for Hashem and which for The Mountain of Azazel (the goat designated by lot to bear the burden of death to rectify B’nai Yisrael’s sins) and more. And by virtue of our being Hashem’s “most favored nation”, The Kohen Godol is to the Jews a paradigm of Hashem’s blueprint L’Chat’chila (the way things should be), of what the Jews are to represent to the other nations of Mankind. [...]  Click here to read more.

Rosh Hashana 5771: Unesaneh Tokef and What Made R’Amnon Weaken?

by Moshe Burt

Each Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we daven the Unesaneh Tokef as part of the Mussaf tefillah.

The story behind the Unesaneh Tokef tefillah (expressing the seriousness of the day) relates to the Gezeira Rah (evil decree) of forced conversion to Christianity which was faced by R’ Amnon of Mainz and his Kehilla roughly 1,000 years ago.

R’ Amnon feared for his Kehilla due to having faced persistent dread coercion as well as potential mortal, imminent threat of communal harm or deaths hanging over them as retribution for failure to convert to Christianity. Therefore, at one point, he weakened by giving the Bishop or Governor (whatever the correct title was) the perception of his consideration of possible compliance with the demand to convert. Almost immediately after taking leave of the Bishop, R’ Amnon became distraught feeling that he betrayed Hashem by having given the impression that he would consider conversion and give an answer to the Bishop 3 days hence. [...]  Click here to read more.