U’netane Tokef

From: Phillip Dear Rabbi, There is clearly a lot of trepidation and enthusiasm surrounding the “U’netane Tokef” liturgy in the Rosh Hashana prayer service. I’m wondering what it means and why it seems to be treated with extra special reverence. Dear Phillip, Indeed the U’netane tokef prayer is considered to be one of the more[…]

Tactical Teshuva

From: Marcia Dear Rabbi, I’m sure you’re familiar with the following phenomenon: Every year at Rosh Hashana time I make grandiose plans to improve myself but after all is said and done, I accomplish very little change. Could you help me with this? Dear Marcia, Sure I’m familiar with this, from personal experience, as most[…]

Life in the Balance

From: Liana Dear Rabbi, I see the astrological sign for Tishrei is Libra. Would you please explain the significance of this and if it has anything to do with the month itself? Thanks. Dear Liana, You are correct, and Libra in Hebrew is “moznayim” which mean balancing scales and it has everything to do with[…]

Two-faced Teshuva

From: Yehuda Dear Rabbi, I know it’s Elul, and that this is the time to do teshuva in preparation for Rosh Hashana. But I also know that to do proper teshuva that is accepted by HaShem, a person has to: 1. Verbally express his transgressions, 2. Feel regret for having done them, and 3. Accept[…]

Judgment

From: Melanie Dear Rabbi, Why is Rosh Hashana considered the Day of Judgment and what exactly is being judged and how? Dear Melanie, Rosh Hashana was ordained as a day of judgment for two reasons: The first is that on this day, the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the creation of the[…]

Circular Teshuva

From: Robert Dear Rabbi, If a person does something wrong then regrets it, accepting upon himself not to do it again, and then later does the same thing again, over and over, repenting then transgressing, does that help at all? Is there any purpose after a certain point of even repenting? Dear Robert, Our Sages[…]

Resolutions

From: Amanda Dear Rabbi, Is there a concept of New Year’s resolutions in Judaism for Rosh Hashana? Thanks for your time! Dear Amanda, The answer is yes, and presumably even more so than in what’s generally associated with the non-Jewish New Year. For most who attribute significance to December 31/January 1, the celebrations of the[…]

Path of Penitence

From: Shiri Dear Rabbi, It is now the month of Elul, a special time for teshuva in preparation and anticipation for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. But I’ve run into a problem. I don’t know exactly how to do teshuva or what path to take. Please set me on course. Dear Shiri, It’s interesting that[…]

A Blast

From: Roland in Chicago Dear Rabbi, If the Torah tells us to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashana, why do we make so many blasts? Wouldn’t it seem from the Torah that one would be enough? I think we make a hundred! Dear Roland, The Torah mentions blowing the shofar three times, using the term[…]

Rebirth

From: Naftali in Denver Dear Rabbi, Is Rosh Hashana important only because of its being the Day of Judgment, or is there some other significance to the day as well, such as we find regarding other holidays where several important things happened or are associated with that day? Dear Naftali, Rosh Hashana is on the[…]