Thursday, September 20, 2007

This Year -- 5768

This year is 5768
5 to 7 is two steps up
7 to 6 is one step down
6 to 8 is two steps up.
In life (like in the stock market) sometimes we take two steps up, then get discouraged when we have to take a step back. But don't despair! The purpose of this step back is only to be able to go again two steps up.

In Kabbalistic/Chassidic terminology: "Descent for the sake of Ascent"

May this be a year of revealed blessings, and may we ascend higher in all areas of life, materially and spiritually, with health, happiness and nachas, and most of all, with the ultimate ascent, the return to Eretz Yisrael and the building of the Beis Hamikdash, with the coming of Moshiach NOW!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Three-Day Marathon Holidays

This year, Rosh Hashana, Sukkot and Simchat Torah are all "three-day holidays."

To be more precise, they're acutally two-day holidays like always. However, this year, since they occur on Thursday and Friday, these holy days flow seamlessly into Shabbos without any interruption of a mundane weekday.

What can we learn from these three-day marathon holidays, in which work is forbidden for three consecutive days?

In Judaism, three is an important number. It symbolizes permanence, consistency, endurance and sturdiness.

An occupant of a house can claim three consecutive years of undisputed occupancy as proof of ownership.

An ox that gores three consecutive times is considered a "goring ox," and it must be presumed that it will gore again in the future.

A three-ply twine is far more enduring than a two or single ply, and is not easily severed.

A table cannot stand on two legs, but can stand on three. Hence the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Due to the righteousness of this threesome, their progeny endures forever.

So what do we make of three days of consecutive holy days?

Simple! This year, holiness and the holy activities of Shabbat, i.e. prayer and Torah Study, Mitzvot observance, etc., ought be focused on as a greater priority than ever.

Indeed, our fixed times for Torah study must be:
permanent, consistent and enduring.

Soccer, karate, piano lessons and business calls, etc., can all wait. When your weekly or daily Torah study time arrives, everything else stops.

Even if the phone rings, don't answer it. It's like Shabbos. Three-days-worth of it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Shmittah Year

This coming Jewish Year is a Sabbatical Year called “Shmittah.” It is the last year in the seven-year cycle, and has its own special laws.
In the land of Israel, it involves a prohibition against all agricultural activity. Out of the Land of Israel, special laws apply to the eating of Israeli produce.
For Jews, the world over, another law applies as follows.
Any loans made before the Shmittah year may not be reclaimed after Shmittah, as the word "Shmittah" means "release."
The exact cut off date is the subject of differing opinions; some maintain it is at the beginning of Shmittah, whilst others maintain it is at the end of Shmittah.
During Temple times, this law was readily observed. However, later in history people became reluctant to lend money to other Jews in the months before Shmittah, for fear of not being able to reclaim the money later on.
It was Hillel the Elder who lived two thousand years ago who developed the idea of Pruzbul. This is a method that allows one to reclaim debts after Shmittah, by turning one's debts into public debts before Shmittah begins.
This is done quite easily by appointing a “court” of three adult Jews and declaring before them: ‘I hereby transfer to you all debts that are owing to me, so that I may reclaim them whenever I so desire’.
Go to
and fill out the form. This should be done on or before Erev Rosh Hashanah, Wednesday 12 September, 2007.
We will also do the oral declaration of Pruzbul at the beginning of our Rosh Hashana service on Wed. 12 at Westborough High School, 90 W Main.
Please join us!
Shana Tova,
Rabbi Green