The designation, Shabbos Shuva is given because, on this day, we read the Haftorah from the prophet Hosea which says: Return O Israel to the L-rd Your G-d. HaShem, who is our compassionate Father, is reaching out and waiting for each and every one of us to come to Him.
The parsha opens with the electrifying words, “Ha`azinu HaShamayim – “Listen o Heavens and I will speak, and may the earth hear the words of my mouth.” (Deut. 32:1)
Moshe Rabbenu reminds us that even when he is no longer here physically, the heavens and the earth will stand as eternal witnesses and testify that we sealed an irrevocable covenant with G-d. Moshe Rabbenu calls upon heaven and earth to serve as witnesses, for even as they are constant and unchanging, so must our loyalty to Torah be constant and unchanging. Homiletically, the heavens represent our spiritual essence and the earth our physical being. Both must act in consonance to fulfill G-d`s Will.
Our sages ask why Moses proclaimed Ha`azinu – Listen before Adaberu – I shall speak.
The answer should give us all pause. It is only if we are desirous of listening that G-d`s Words will find a place in our hearts. If, G-d forbid, we are bent upon closing our ears, shutting our minds, then alas, the Words will never reach us. In these, the most sacred days in our calendar year, when G-d Himself stretches out His Hands, and is willing to help us change and start a new life, let us be sure that we are listening. It`s all up to us. Let us start by making a commitment to pray regularly, to perform acts of loving kindness, charity and to study Torah. Join us at one of our many Torah classes.
ASERES YIMEI TSHUVA
The days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are called the Ten Days of Repentance. During these ten days, it is appropriate to adopt mitzvos, good deeds not ordinarily observed during the rest of the year. The Zodiac sign of Tishrei is a pair of scales. Every Jew must look at these scales as though they are balanced and attempt to tip them in his favor through increased Torah study, mitzvos, acts of loving kindness and tzedukah. For more detailed information on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, please check our web site–hineni.org
YOM KIPPUR PREPARATIONS
Kaparot – Charity: As a symbol of atonement, Kaparot must be given before Yom Kippur. We do so with gifts of money or live chickens which we rotate over our heads as we recite a special prayer. The following is an excerpt from the blessing: “This is the offering exchanged for us, This is our ransom; this is our atonement. This money will go to charity while we will enter and proceed to a good long life, and to peace.”
We do not eat, drink, wash, use perfume, wear leather or have sexual intimacy.
It is customary to wear white as a symbol of purity.
We light Yahrzeit memorial candles for those who are no longer with us (before kindling the holiday lights).
We bless our children
Parental Blessing: In this High Holy Day season, it is customary for parents to bless their children. Both hands should be laid upon the head of the child to signify that the blessing is conveyed with generosity of spirit. Each parent may add personal blessings to the customary text as he sees fit.
For a boy: “May G-d make you like Ephraim and Menashe.”
For a girl: May G-d make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah”.
For both continue with: May G-d bless you and keep you. May G-d illuminate His countenance unto you be gracious unto you and establish peace for you.”
Reconciliation–We ask forgiveness from our fellow man and visit the graves of our dear ones who are no longer here.
G`mar Chatima Tova – May we all be sealed for a good blessed year.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
Tshuva (Repentance), Tefilla (Prayer) and Tzedukah (Charity) cancel the evil decree (Avos, 4:11)
On behalf of the entire Hineni family, I would like to wish everyone a sweet, happy, and healthy New Year. We thank you for your many good wishes and we are looking forward to greeting you at our beautiful services, praying together, growing together, and celebrating together.
Shabbat Shalom, Good Yom Tov, and a G’mar K`siva V`Chasima Tova. May G-d accept our prayers and grant peace for all our people .
By: Rabbi Osher Anschel HaLevi Jungreis, Shlita