A Yom Kippur Message to Our Members & ‘Torat Imecha- Women’s Torah Weekly’

25 09 2009

The atmosphere of teshuva and introspection intensifies as we near Yom Kippur.  This week, we have many classes on the topic of Teshuva and Yom Kippur, to help you get ready for this special day.  Naaleh.com wants to take this opportunity to wish all of our members a G’mar Chatima Tova, and to ask your forgiveness in case we caused you any loss or frustration in the last year, despite our best efforts to provide only excellent service.

Please take a look at our Torah weekly, the Torat Imecha, click here for the printable version.  This week’s articles focus on the Haftarah of Shabbat Shuva and on some of the tefillot of Yom Kippur.


Raving Reviews for Rebbetzin Heller’s Class ‘Elul, Rosh Hashana, and Yom Kippur for Children’

23 09 2009

Students at Naaleh.com are loving Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s newest class series:

Bringing Torah to Life: Deepening our Children’s Jewish Experience

The first class in this series entitled, Elul, Rosh Hashana, and Yom Kippur for Children, is helping parents prepare their children for the Yamim Noraim, High Holidays, in a very meaningful way.

One student writes in:

‘This shiur was FABULOUS!  I especially liked and used her advice about teenagers and all of her specific examples of how to relate to different aged children for Elul. Fabulous and immediately useful. Thank you. I hope you do this again for Pesach.’

Check out the class and make this year’s Holidays meaningful for the entire family!

Shabbat Shuva: The Eternal Message

22 09 2009

Shabbat Shuva: The Eternal Message

The Shabbos before Rosh Hashana is called Shabbat Shuva, after the Haftarah (reading from the Prophets) which is specified for that Shabbos. This Haftora, taked from Hoshea Chapter 14, contains many of the yesodot (fundamnetals) of Teshuva (repentance), and Hashem’s unique relationship with the Jewish people. Shira Smiles plumbs the depths of this relativly short passage, in this unique four-part series.

The first class in this series is:

The Intrinsic Purity of Every Jew

In this Torah shiur (class) on the Haftarah of Shabbat Shuva, Mrs. Shira Smiles begins the reading from Hoshea chapter 14.  In this class, we learn that teshuva/repentance is a dynamic process with Hashem, and that every Jew’s soul is intrinsically pure, which means that even sin does not become part of its essence.  When embarking on the teshuva process, one should have an image of who they want to be, so that they have a goal to aspire to. This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats at http://Naaleh.com.

Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

27 08 2009

Elul and Rosh Hashana: Days of Closeness and Awe

A collection of NEW inspiring Shiurim/classes on the month of Elul and the Chagim/High Holidays by various Na’aleh lecturers.

The first class in this collection is Elul: The Sweetness of Tikkun Hamidot by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller:

In this class on Elul and repentance, Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller describes the sweetness of returning to Hashem through correcting one’s character traits, and outlines four systems for Tikun Hamidot. The methods of the Rambam, the Ba’al HaTanya, Sefer Cheshbon Hanefesh, and R’ Nachman MiBreslov are all described in detail.

Just in Time for Rosh Hashana: ‘Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Davening: Open the Gates!’

25 08 2009

Rabbi Michael Taubes is teaching a wonderful course just in time for Rosh Hashana, “Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Davening: Open the Gates!“.

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are days of repentance, introspection, and self-definition. They are also days of tefillah, prayer. A close look at the Tefillot of the Yamim Noraim reveals that these tefillot were designed to help us increase our awareness of Hashem, acceptance of His Malchut, and recognition of Din, as well as properly complete the teshuva process. This course goes through the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Machzorim, explaining their structure, the logical sequence of the prayers, and the meaning and symbolism of key tefillot.

Here is a sampling of the first installment of this course, “Themes of Rosh Hashana”:

To view the entire class click here: Themes of Rosh Hashana

Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement

10 09 2008

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn day of the Jewish Calender. On this day, G-d seals the fate of each person, deciding what the coming year will hold.  The Sages tell us that Rosh Hashana , the Jewish New Year, is the day when judgment is inscribed, and Yom Kippur, ten days later, is the day when the judgment is sealed.  As the final day of judgment, Yom Kippur is an opportunity for every Jew to fully repent any previous wrongdoings or faults, and merit a year full of blessing.

Atonement For All Sins

The Torah describes Yom Kippur as the “day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d” (Leviticus 16:30).  The day is marked by fasting and prayer as we beseech G-d for a good year for ourselves, our families, the Jewish People and the entire world.  For 26 hours, we focus completely on returning to G-d.  We refrain from five significant acts.  There is no eating or drinking, we do not wash or anoint our bodies, no wearing leather shoes, and we abstain from marital relations.  These acts represent the material and physical aspects of our lives, and we abstain from them on Yom Kippur in order to emphasize our inner selves, and our longing for closeness to G-d.  It is also a custom to wear white clothing, signifying our desire for purity and holiness.

Repentance and Atonement are key themes throughout the day.  We beg for forgiveness for our sins of the past year and resolve to act only in accordance with G-d’s will.  Our Sages tell us that Yom Kippur can only atone for sins between Man and G-d, such as eating non-kosher food, inadequately fulfilling one’s obligation to learn Torah or pray properly, not keeping Shabbat, etc.  However, Yom Kippur cannot atone for sins between Man and his fellow Man.   Stealing from another person, slandering, or shaming someone will not be forgiven on Yom Kippur unless the sinner first begs for forgiveness from the person he has harmed.  Only once he has appeased his friend can he proceed to ask G-d to forgive him for those sins as well.  It is therefore an accepted practice among Jews to try to remember who they might have harmed over the past year and ask them for Mechila (forgiveness).

The Tefillot of Yom Kippur

There are five specific tefillot, prayers, throughout Yom Kippur: Maariv, Shacharit, Mussaf, Mincha, and Neila.  The highlight of each of these prayers is the Vidui (confession), which is recited twice during each of these five prayers.  Perhaps the most famous prayer of Yom Kippur is not one of the five prayers at all, but an introductory prayer to the Yom Kippur service, the Kol Nidrei. Kol Nidrei is the soft, supplicating prayer that precedes the tefillah of Maariv.  In this short prayer, we exclaim that, tonight, we allow everyone, both the wicked and the righteous, to join together in prayer to Hashem.  We then ask Hashem to nullify any vows and promises that we’ve made over the last year, so that we may begin the coming year with a clean slate. 

Maariv, the Prayer after Nightfall, which is recited after the sun sets and Yom Kippur begins, is different from any other holiday Maariv service. It is the only Maariv prayer that includes Selichot, special supplications for forgiveness. The selichot prayers feature many repetitions of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, the special prayer that G-d taught Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses, when He forgave the sin of the Golden Calf. 

Shacharit, the Morning Prayer, follows the regular pattern of Shacharit for Holidays, and also includes Vidui in the private Shemoneh Esrei and the chazzan’s repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei.  Many piyutim (prayer poems) proclaiming G-d’s Sovereignty versus Man’s impotence, are added to the chazzan’s repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei. The Shacharit prayer ends with the Reading of the Torah, which describes the Kohen Gadol’s service in the Beit Hamikdash (the Temple) on Yom Kippur, and with Yizkor (the Memorial Prayer for the Deceased), which is recited on every holiday.

In the times of the Temple, an extra sacrifice was brought in honor of every holiday.  Now that we don’t have a Temple, Mussaf, the ‘Additional Prayer,’ is added to every holiday Morning Service.  The Shemoneh Esrei of Mussaf describes the sacrifice that was offered in the Temple on the holiday.  The Mussaf of Yom Kippur relates the unique service of the High Priest in the Beit Hamikdash on Yom Kippur.  On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) sacrificed special sacrifices in order to atone for himself, his family, his tribe, and the Jewish People.  The Mussaf prayers beautifully describe the many steps of purification and atonement performed by the Kohen Gadol, climaxing with the once-a-year entry of the Kohen Gadol into the Kodesh HaKedoshim (Holy of Holies).  During this time, a red thread was hung outside the Beit Hamikdash while the Kohen Gadol was in the Kodesh Hakedoshim.  If the service in the Kodesh HaKedoshim was performed properly, the red thread miraculously turned white, symbolizing G-d’s forgiveness of His People.  The people would then joyously accompany the Kohen Gadol to his home.  One who fervently recites these Mussaf prayers is considered to have actually witnessed the Yom Kippur service in the Temple, and therefore merits the same level of atonement.

Mincha, The Afternoon Prayer, features a reading of the Book of Jonah, which describes Yona Hanavi’s (Jonah the Prophet), attempt to ‘escape’ the prophesy of G-d by leaving Israel, and his subsequent suffering on the boat and in the innards of a large fish.  The theme of the Book of Jonah is repentance; the repentance of Yona Hanavi, the sailors on the ship, and the non-Jewish city of Ninveh are all described.

The last tefillah of the day is Neila, literally the Locking of the Gates.  This prayer is the climax of Yom Kippur.  Recited just before nightfall, we desperately beseech G-d for His mercy before the Heavenly books are closed.  We end the tefilla with a powerful Acceptance of G-d’s Sovereignty, Kabbalat Ol Malchut Shamayim, as the whole congregation cries out the Shema in unison, and follows by affirming our complete faith in G-d by reciting other pesukim of faith repeatedly.

Although Yom Kippur is a serious time, there is an undercurrent of joyful hope. We believe that G-d will accept our sincere repentance and forgive us for our sins, allowing us to build a relationship of love and trust with Him again. The day ends with a shofar blast and singing of “Next Year in Jerusalem” usually accompanied by singing and dancing.

To learn more about Yom Kippur as well as the Yom Kippur Davening (Prayer), check out these Torah video classes at www.naaleh.com:

New Elul Class by Rabbi Taubes

28 08 2008

Dear Friend,

Elul is fast approaching.  In addition to our many NEW classes on teshuva and the nature of the month of Elul, Naaleh.com has begun a new course by Rabbi Michael Taubes on the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur davening (prayer), entitled Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Davening:  Open the Gates! Rabbi Taubes, a veteran educator and well known Rabbi, co-authored the Artscroll Machzor Mesoras Harav on the Tefillos (prayers) of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. This course can be enjoyed by students of all levels who would like to enhance their davening experience this year.

Click on the images below to view the first class in this new series, as well as some of our other Elul classes.