DIVREI TORAH ON THE MACHZOR
The OnegMachzor Companion
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Published by JAM Events www.jam-events.com
Copyright JAM Events (UK) Limited, 2015
All rights reserved
Printed in England
In Conjunction with the Oneg Shabbos Project
THANK YOU to all the contributors for taking time out of their busy schedules and making this Oneg Machzor Companion possible
THANK YOU to Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene & Rabbi Yonasan Roodyn for making this dream come true.
THANK YOU The Creative RD4 Production Group
THANK YOU to Rabbi Dovid Tugendhaft for creating the vision
THANK YOU to Elana Chesler for assisting with the contributors
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THE ONEG MACHZOR COMPANION 3
DIVREI TORAH ON THE MACHZOR
The OnegMachzor Companion
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4 THE ONEG MACHZOR COMPANION
Rabbi Yonasan RoodynAish UK and General Editor of Oneg Machzor Companion
The forty days of Elul, Rosh Hashanah, Aseres Yemei Teshuvah (10 Days of Repentance) and Yom Kippur are the most powerful time in our calendar. They are known as the Yemei Haratzon, days of desire, our desire to recalibrate and return to a healthy sense of ruchnius (spirituality) and of Hashems desire to accept our teshuvah.
The tellos of these days provide us with a framework through which we can express our greatest hopes, dreams and desires. On Rosh Hashanah, we set our priorities and think big. We look at the broader picture and daven for a perfected world where Hashems presence is readily felt by all of mankind. We ask Hashem, that we, Klal Yisrael, should be His faithful agents in bringing about a state of geulah (redemption) and that He should bless us individually and communally with all that we need to full this most noble function.
The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time for introspection, to reect as to whether our actions really reect our values. We invest more time and eort in our davening and mitzvah observance. We strive to make a change for the better even before we have reached the climax of these forty days Yom Kippur.
By the time we have reached Yom Kippur, we are able to rise above our bodies and function on the level of melachim (angels) for a day. We are eectively spending 25 hours in shomayim (heaven), by deemphasising our physical needs and allowing our neshamos (souls) to soar to the greatest of heights. The purpose of Yom Kippur is to reach a state of tahara (purity), not to spend a day reliving our aveiros (sins), but to be so repulsed by our misdemeanours that we can honestly say, Thats
not really me. Thats not who I want to be. When we stop identifying with those aveiros, we reach the state of purication necessary to achieve total forgiveness and a re-establishment of our natural state of being, one of connection to Hashem.
The tellos of the Yomim Noroim are the ultimate vehicle to express these concepts. The challenge is that many of them are unfamiliar to us as we only say them a few times a year. Those prayers that are familiar to us, we often say by rote. The only way to fully appreciate and identify with the tellos is to spend some time learning about them, what the words mean
and what the message is behind them.
It is with a great sense of privilege that we present the Oneg Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Companion. This is clearly not a machzor and in no way comes to replace any of the davening. However, it does provide insights to enhance your tellos and will hopefully improve the kavana (intentions) that you will have when you say them. We hope that you will spend time reading these articles, not instead of davening but during the many free hours that we have over the
Yom Tov period, so that these tellos will be more meaningful for you.
This sense of privilege is coupled with a feeling of pride that this initiative has come from our kehilla of North West London (and further aeld). We thank all those who have contributed articles as well as our sponsors who have given generously to make this dream into a reality.
May Hashem accept all our tellos favourably and may we see the realisation of all of our hopes, dreams and aspirations both personally and for all of Klal Yisrael this year.
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THE ONEG MACHZOR COMPANION 5
Rabbi Joseph Kaye
Chaplain for University Jewish Chaplaincy & Life Coach for Kitov
BE A WINNER / A REASON TO WIN
If you were to type into Amazon, personal development, thousands of results would appear. Each book and audio result suggests that they have the secret tool for life to achieve massive success.
This leaves you more than a little confused as to what, at the end of the day, is that one all-important tool?
That secret weapon is one word: knowledge. Do you agree with me? I sure hope not! Why it cant possibly be knowledge?! How many of us know that we should change our eating habits, to better our relationships, to undertake career change, and yet we dont? I guess that unfortunately this description may t too many of us.
So what is that one tool that makes all the dierence? That all important weapon is, Action. Massive Action.
When Steve Jobs was asked for the secret to his success, he answered Action.
When you start taking action, you start getting results. It makes no matter what the results are. The fact of the matter is that you are now further away from where you started, and you are much closer to where you want to be. Even if the particular result is deemed a failure, there really is no such thing as failure. There is only feedback. As Gordon Ramsay says, my rst restaurant failed, but that made me into the success that I am now. No actions means no results. No actions means that you stay in the same place without obtaining enormous amounts of knowledge, experience, time management skills, and many other qualities .
That leaves us with one all-encompassing question What can get us to take action?
Avraham decided to take steps to nd a wife for Yitzchak by asking Eliezer to take on this task but getting him to rst make a shevuah (an oath). Whats going on? Wasnt Eliezer the trustworthy servant who ran Avrahams entire household? So why the change in attitude? Why, now, the sudden distrust towards Eliezer?
The Shem Mishmuel answers that Avraham never doubted Eliezers loyalty, but he recognised that human beings have enormous reservoirs of strength but only if they are absolutely determined to persevere. By imposing the shevuah, Avraham guaranteed that Eliezer would persist in the mission.
Avraham understood that as long as he was alive, their relationship would serve as a powerful reason and motivating force for Eliezer to continue the search for a wife. But if Avraham would pass away before the mission was complete, then that powerful reason would weaken, to the extent that Eliezer could stop taking action in the search for a wife. So Avraham realised that Eliezer needed a powerful reason in a scenario where he may no longer be around. The shevuah was intended to serve as the powerful reason in that specic scenario to motivate Eliezer to nish the mission.
Reasons create action. Powerful and compelling reasons create massive action. When you have a strong enough reason to achieve something, you nd a way, even if the odds are stacked against you.
Thats exactly what hitting rock bottom is. So many people make the change and reach their goals only after they cannot get any lower. Simply put, they now have a powerful reason to make that change so that they never return to that place called rock bottom again.
However, there is really no need to wait to hit rock bottom in order to change your circumstances. Remember that resolutions without powerful reasons will result in no action. Resolutions with powerful reasons will propel you to make it happen, no matter what. This Elul, lets give ourselves the best ghting chance to achieve our all our new goals and commitments for the New Year. So hopefully, the time that next Elul comes around, we can be truly proud of our yearly accomplishments.
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6 THE ONEG MACHZOR COMPANION
Rabbi Rephoel Zev Godlewsky
The Edgware Torah Centre
MAKING THE MOST OUT OF SELICHOS THE YUD GIMMEL MIDDOS (HASHEM HASHEM...)
Vayaavor Hashem al Ponov, Vayikra
The Gemara in Rosh Hashana (17b) tells of how Hashem, wrapped in a tallis like a chazzan before a congregation, demonstrated to Moshe Rabbeinu a special order of prayer known as the 13 Attributes of Mercy. Contained within w