Get seven complete and original sermons for Parshat Ki Tavo /Selichot (or purchase them individually)
1. Shabbat Selichot: The True Story Behind Jewish Guilt
Guilt is for many an integral component of Judaism. With the Selichot prayers beginning this Saturday night, and today’s Torah reading delineating the 98 “curses” read in a hush – who wouldn’t associate Judaism and the High Holidays with fear and guilt? Today we shall learn that guilt is antithetical to Judaism and actually undermines the basis of our relationship with the Divine.
2. Chai Elul: Can We Regain Lost Love?
This week’s Haftarah contains a fundamental lesson in reclaiming love that so many of us were deprived of as children – a powerful life-changing lesson, relevant today more than ever. This is emphasized on Chai Elul, the birthday of the two great luminaries, the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe, who came to revive the Jewish spirit from a comatose state.
3. A Tale of a City and a Field
If you could fix one thing in your life, what would it be? Our Torah portion relates one such blessing: You shall be blessed in the city, and you shall be blessed in the field. What is the city and the field? The secret to all success is to keep your hands working in the field without ever forgetting your higher purpose.
4. King and Farmer
Do we need to separate ourselves from our mundane daily routines to access G-d? One of the most beautiful and revolutionary contributions of Judaism is that the Divine can and must be experienced in our material existence. This is the lesson of this week’s Torah reading and of the current Hebrew month of Elul – when G-d is compared to a king in the field.
5. Fear vs. Awe
In this week’s reading the Torah states: Then all the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the Lord is associated with you, and they will fear you. What is the significance of this fear? Fear is not terror. Fear is awe. Fear is reverence. It happens when one stands before something greater than oneself.
6. Are You Feeling Despondent?
The current Hebrew month of Elul – and this week’s Torah reading – holds the secret of how to access heaven on earth. It teaches us how we can hold infinity in the palm of our material hand and eternity in the mundane hours of our routine life; how we can experience the extraordinary in the ordinary, and how we can touch the sky even as the news on earth isn’t very pretty.
7. Lost (and Found) in Translation
Are translations good or bad? At times we find that they are a blessing, a bridge. At other times we find it to be a compromise and even detrimental. The difference: the foundations upon which they are built. Only a bridge built by G-d will connect the two sides; a bridge concocted by man will divide.