By Joshua Weinberg
“And when you come into the Land, and have planted all manner of food bearing trees… (Lev. 19:23) The Holy one Blessed be he said to the people Israel: Even though you have found [the land] full of plenty, you shall not say: We shall sit and not plant, rather proceed with caution in your planting… For as you have entered and found the fruits of others’ labor, you so shall plant for your children. (Midrash Tanhuma)
If you’re like me, then you may remember that pivotal moment of Jewish education when you received your very own Jewish National Fund (JNF) certificate for a tree planted in Israel. Whether it was for a birth, birthday, bar/bat mitzvah, or in memory of a loved one, a tree was planted in Israel to mark the occasion. The message was clear: with every passing milestone we want to connect Jews to the Land of Israel and to the Zionist enterprise. All of us who were the fortunate recipients of such trees knew in the recesses of our mind that somewhere in that strip of land, in some forest, was our tree, our little piece of Israel. As the certificates read, the JNF wished us the following: “We wish you the fortune of seeing it grow with much pleasure and ease.”
In the sermons excerpted below, you will find many examples of uplifting and inspiring teaching. You will find profound explications of our sacred texts and searching examinations of pop culture phenomena from Mr.
Literally, “master of t’kiah,” meaning “one who sounds the shofar.”
A Hebrew term for “sin.” Cheit is a Hebrew archery term meaning “missing the mark.” A section of High Holiday liturgy is the Al Cheit, a confession of ways in which we “missed the mark” during the past year.
Literally, “for a good year.” This is a customary greeting for Rosh HaShanah. Also, “shanah tovah.”
Literally, “blast” or “blowing of a horn;” it is a note of the shofar call.
Literally the “great” t’kiah, this is the longest, deepest call of the shofar heard as the final shofar blast on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Literally, “shout;” one of the shofar blasts. It is composed of a series of nine short blasts.
"Days of Awe." An alternate name for the High Holidays, and the 10-day period beginning with Rosh HaShanah and concluding with Yom Kippur.
Literally, “four species.” The Torah specifies four species to bring together on Sukkot. The four species are: lulav (branches of palm trees), etrog (citron), hadasim (myrtle branches), and aravot (willows) (Leviticus 23:40).