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Is Giving Presents On Chanukah A Problem?

Dear Jew in the City, Is it a problem to give and get gifts on Chanukah? Why do we do it? Sincerely, Cindy Dear Cindy, Thanks very much for your question. I have complicated feelings regarding the practice of exchanging gifts on Chanukah. On the one hand, I really like to give gifts; it’s kind […]

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The Secret to Judging Favorably on Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana is also known as the day of judgment. We enter a proverbial courtroom and face G-d’s judgement from the past year. The day seems solemn and can invoke terror within, but if you look at the way we celebrate the holiday, it doesn’t fit in at all. We get dressed up in beautiful […]

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The Surprising Connection Between Mikvah And The Days Of Awe

The imagery of Elul, the month we recently entered, is often associated with a King. Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains through a famous parable that the King, who is usually high up and away from His subjects (i.e. God) is, “in the field.” As in, He’s close to and among us, available for us […]

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How You Can Tap Into the Spiritual Energy of Elul

Elul is known as the period when “the King is in the field.” Both in our tefillot (prayers) and mitzvot (commandments), Hashem is tangibly closer to us. The Shechina (God’s presence) is stronger, the kedusha (holiness) is more intense. God is more accessible at this time.   The layers of camouflage which normally mask reality and make […]

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