Two Rosh Hashana + One Shabbat Shuva + Two Yom Kippur Sermons
1. Rosh Hashana Day One: Do Details Matter? Headaches and Flat Feet
How important are the details of life? On the Rosh (head) of the year, we certainly have a birds eye view of the entire year. But what about the details? Do they matter? With humor, medical insights into the head and heel of the human body, and the analysis of a cryptic verse in the Rosh Hashana prayer, we learn a powerful lesson about the key to a successful year: Fusing the head and the heel, the big and the small.
2. Rosh Hashana Day Two: Synagogue Shootings, The Akeida and How To Overcome Challenges
As we look back at the past year we recognize the many beautiful things that happened, but we also remember the many challenges. No one will forget the shootings at the Tree Of Life and Poway. We also faced personal challenges. So it’s fair to ask: How to deal with and overcome our challenges? The answer is found in a fascinating story related to events we recollect on Rosh Hashana: how Satan challenged Abraham and Isaac 3 times on their journey to the Akeida. They reflect 3 general challenges each of us face in life. And our forefathers’ response to these challenges is also ours.
3. Shabbat Shuva: A Jew’s Kiddush In The Soviet Union Will Forever Change Your Shabbat
Jews today are blessed with unprecedented freedom. We can be as Jewish as we wish. This wasn’t always so. One soul-wrenching story of a Russian Jew writing a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe about his struggles with Shabbat will forever change your perspective on Shabbat, Judaism, and being Jewish today. And it will remind you what Shabbat Shuva is all about.
4. Yom Kippur/Kol Nidrei: Does G-d Need to be Forgiven? Kol Nidrei 1944 In The Auschwitz Women’s Barracks
On Yom Kippur we have a mitzvah to atone for our sins and ask for forgiveness. Since G-d fulfills all the mitzvot, how does — and why would — a perfect G-d atone and ask for forgiveness from us? We find our answer in a heartrending story that happened this night 75 years ago in the women’s barracks of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
5. Yom Kippur/Yizkor: Golden Calf To Buchenwald: Breaking Is Stronger Than Fixing
What is the secret to Jewish strength? Is it physical or spiritual? We discover the answer in a surprising place: an early 20th century all-Jewish soccer club called Hakoah (the power) that won Austria’s National Championship in 1924-25. The secret to true koach lies in the mysterious words G-d said to Moses when he shattered the tablets: “strength to you for breaking them!” Strength is found not in what you can fix, but in what you are willing to break. As Yom Kippur And Yizkor demonstrate.