150: Harotzeh BiSeshuva and Chanuka - הרוצה בתשובה

“Then, when the faithful had fallen, when the weak were beginning to falter, when all that spelled Israel seemed lost — then arose Mattathias the son of Jochanan, the priest, and his sons. He did not count the number of those who were like-minded… He rose up to fight against this devastating frenzy; and caused the weakness of the faithful to be victorious…

“And just as God… caused the light of Israel to be rekindled by the flaming spirit which still shone pure in the breast of one man, so did He declare by a visible symbol that in time of desolation He watches over and is the spirit of Israel. …But only one cruse of oil, enough to last one day, was found still undefiled. …

“Each year, when the Chanukah season recurs, lights are kindled in every home of Israel, and by every son of Israel… Thus the darkened courses of Israel are lit up by this message: ‘The spiritual light of Israel will never be dimmed.’ And even if round about you everything becomes defiled by the oppression of the time, so long as the light remains pure within the confines of only one house or within the breast of only one man, live on joyfully… for the spiritual life of Israel is saved: God watches over it, and even by the light of one man He rekindles it anew.”

— Rav S.R. Hirsch, Horeb, Chapter 34, p. 246 “Chanukah and Purim”

131: “Mechalkel Chaim BeChessed: Why Praise Comes First — Shevach and Bakasha

Changing reality by aligning our will with Hashem’s. 

"One should open with praise of Hashem before asking for his needs" (Brachos 32).

“In truth, Sefer Tehillim has more zemiros than tefillah. The difference is as follows: when it comes to tefillah one must try to daven at an eis ratzon [an opportune time], whereas Tehillim has the power to create an eis ratzon.” 

— Rav Yitzchak Hutner, Pachad Yitzchak al SuccosMaamar 70

Session 101: A Moment in Time / Rosh HaShana

We begin exploring how the halachos of Shmone Esrei all are expressions of the reality that we are speaking directly with Hashem, and define the elemental 3-part structure of the Tefilla (Shmone Esrei), and how it plays out in the Rosh Hashana prayers.

Time is the structure in our lives that allows us to think of our lives as having meaning, mission, purpose. Time allows us to think about our past, commit to our future, and make choices in the present.  אין עתה אלא תשובה.

The call of the Shofar "brings you through your innermost self to God." (— Rabbi S. R. Hirsch)

"The root of the root of the Shofar on Rosh Hashana is the selfsame breath which God blew into the nostrils of Adam at the creation of humanity." (— Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner)

Handout - Present, Past, Future