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Matthew Ostrove asks Questions About The Meaning of Rosh Hashana-Attends JLI Chabad Lectures and Shaarey Zedek

by Matthew Ostrove, posted September 26, 2012

 Roch Hashanah - A time for peaceful renewal

This year for the Rosh Hashanah, I attended portions of the three part lecture series at the Jewish Learning Institute, where Rabbi Altein explained the meanings of the shofar blows, and that we will have sacrifices yet again when the third temple is built in Israel. Furthermore, he added that when the second temple was destroyed, the Rabbis moved the service into synagogues, because sacrifices could no longer be made. I asked Rabbi Altein if the Jewish people were being punished for not doing what the Torah commanded us, to which he replied they were not.
Based on ancient Kabbalah teachings, Rosh Hashanah is the metaphysical seed of the year; the window of time where we return to Creation's beginnings, before time, space and karma, where together we can change our individual and collective destiny.
When: In the Bible, Rosh Hashanah is called “The Day of the Shofar Blast.” This is the mitzvah of the day: to hear the blasts of the shofar. Since Rosh Hashanah is two days long, we need to hear the shofar blown during the daytime hours of both days, unless the first day falls on Shabbat, in which case we blow the shofar only on the second day. This year, 2012, we blow the shofar on September 17th and 18th.
Why: Basically, because it is a mitzvah. But the blasts of the shofar are also wake-up calls. Rosh Hashanah is the time to awaken from our spiritual slumber, reconnect to our source, and recommit to our divine mission in this world.”
The shofar-blower recites two blessings, and then blows a set sequence of three kinds of blasts.
The Shofar blasts:
1) Tekiah: An uninterrupted blast lasting for several seconds.
2) Shevarim: Three medium-length blasts.
3) Teruha: A minimum of nine very short blasts.
On the first day, Rabbi Altein explained the meaning of Rosh Hashanah as being a time when all creatures are judged by G-D, and when three books are opened; a book for the righteous, one for the purely wicked, and another for those who fall in between. Who shall live and who shall die are all made clear by G-D in the sacred month of Elul.
The second session was called the A Sword in the Bedroom; Holding On to Moments of Clarity to Withstand Temptation. In this inspiring biblical account of character, courage and determination, Palti ben Layish, an unsung hero, and King David's personal confidante teach us how we can develop our own characters to become who we know we should be.
The final session which happens on September 27th is called the pursuit of happiness. What is happiness? We all want it, but tend to look for it in the wrong places. This lesson explores the quest for happiness, and uncovers a clue to unlocking its secret from a bizarre Talmudic tale.
For the first time, I attended the service at the Shaarey Zedic synagogue for the high holidays, listened to the powerful voice of Anibal Mass and heard the sermon from Rabbi Green on how his teacher Shlomo had such a profound effect on his soul and what Rosh Hashana meant to both of them.
When I asked Chazan Mass, he explained Kabbalisticaly that the angels in heaven are still and frightened, as what we do in our world can have a direct effect in heaven, drawing heaven closer or farther away. For me, it’s the time when our souls are deeply cleansed and renewed for another year of life, where we can spread more love and light into the world.
On Rosh Hashanah, we eat a piece of apple dipped in honey to symbolize our desire for a sweet year. This year, we were fortunate to have our first one at Sobeys, where members from the Raddy JCC were present to hand out apples and honey. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, after the afternoon prayer, we go to a lake, river or sea (preferably a body of water inhabited by fish), and recite the Tashlich prayers, wherein we symbolically cast our sins into the water and leave our old shortcomings behind us, thus starting the new year with a clean slate.
From my family to yours, I would like to wish everyone a very sweet and happy new year.
Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim

 JLI Announces Course Lineup for the 2012-2013 Academic Year

Chabad-Lubavitch’s Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) is proud to announce its flagship course lineup for the upcoming academic year of 2012/13.

As the pre-eminent provider of adult Jewish learning in Winnipeg, JLI’s mission is to make the wisdom of Jewish learning accessible to everyone. “The Jewish Learning Institute allows you to explore basic Jewish ideas, to share critical analysis and interactive discussion with exciting instructors and classmates,” said Mr. David Chochinov, chairman of the local JLI committee.

“At the heart of Jewish culture there has always been Jewish learning, an engaged and vibrant meeting of minds,” explains Rabbi Shmuly Altein, the local JLI instructor. “We’re very excited to announce our flagship course lineup for the upcoming academic year of 2012/13.”

The program begins with The Kabbalah of You in November, continues with Living with Integrity in February and concludes with Curious Tales of the Talmud in April.  This sequence is designed to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jewish thought, heritage, and tradition, and enables students to achieve basic Jewish literacy as well as an understanding of cardinal Jewish beliefs and observances.

Our new fall course, The Kabbalah of You, explores Kabbalistic insights about the soul and how to unleash human potential. The course will be held six consecutive Tuesday evenings, beginning October 30, at the Jewish Learning Centre. The course fee is $79.00 and includes a textbook and refreshments.

For registration and other course-related information, please visit us online at or contact Rabbi Shmuly Altein at (204) 339-8737 ext 204.
Motivated by a profound love for every Jew and spurred by a boundless optimism, Chabad-Lubavitch touches and enriches the lives of young and old, professionals and laypeople, the affiliated and the non-affiliated, immigrants and long-time citizens, regardless of background, affiliation, or level of commitment.
JLI, the adult education arm of Chabad-Lubavitch and a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, was launched in 2008 to address the growing need for in-depth Jewish knowledge. The Jewish Learning Institute aims at changing the way people feel about being Jewish through learning and discovery.

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