Why Technology is Making it So Much Harder to Ask For Forgiveness on Rosh Hashana

As technology advances I sometimes wonder if we are becoming more primitive in our interpersonal interactions. This is not a new idea of course. Many others have raised this issue through research and inspiring videos that warn us to ‘look up’. The message is simple: instead of increasing engagement, technology is increasingly enabling disengagement. Turning Our…

The largest mosh pit with the greatest holiness

I woke up today feeling like I used to feel coming home at 7am from a club after a big night out. It was a big night out. Bright lights, music blaring, trying to push through the crowd, stern security, wild dancing. Lag B’Omer in Meron. My first time. During the day I realised that…

The three weeks of mourning and simcha

Everything that goes up must come down. That’s science. Judaism says everything that goes down has the equivalent potential to go up. Our biggest national tragedies and our biggest personal weaknesses can be catapulted into our biggest simchas and achievements. And so the three weeks of national mourning is fast approaching, when the energy of…

At the core of Tisha B’Av: then and now

How different is the world we live in! When the Temple was destroyed, the dogged illusion of Divine absence settled over our world like a perpetual fog. In this world where Divine hiddenness has replaced Divine revelation, we grope for proofs of God’s existence, like fish debating about the existence of water. We are relegated…

Pesach 2013 coming to a house near you!

If it’s true what they say, that the more effort you put into something the more you appreciate it, then Pesach must be the most loved festival! After a full day of scrubbing, vacuuming, taping, and spraying, I’m exhausted! Most people who have a kosher kitchen turned over to Pesach mode a few days ago…

Chrismukkah is NOT the new Chanukah

It’s 6 days until Chanukah and every time I count down in my head I hear the twelve days of Christmas song playing in my head. It’s an unfortunate relic of growing up in a society where jingles are played in every shop and street corner. It’s an inescapable and somewhat forced religious holiday in…

A comical video on forgiveness and holding onto anger

I’ve always believed in the great power of forgiveness not just because it helps the other person but also because it has an enormous impact on ourselves. People who can’t forgive live in their own jails of anger and resentment. A living inner jail. Even though Yom Kippur is over for another year, the lessons…

Rosh Hashanah insights & ideas

Here’s a summary of some key insights I’ve picked up from all the shiurim I’ve been listening to, largely Rabbi Doniel Katz. I hope it inspires you and may you have a meaningful Rosh Hashanah. 1. Our job is to ask Hashem to keep the world going: to refill the kitty for another year. Hashem…

Some photos in memory of a wonderful 8 days of Chanukah

This Chanukah was by far the most powerful and special one so far. Few words can describe the beauty of the festival so here are some of my photos instead. Source: Uploaded by user via BaalTeshuva on Pinterest   It’s hard to write a post without some Torah learning, so here’s another Doniel Katz class…

Yom Kippur mp3s that changed the day, and hopefully the year

I guess it’s better late than never but here is a link to Doniel Katz’ Yom Kippur mp3 series. These are incredible. No really. They absolutely changed my dovening and Yom Kippur experience. So if you didn’t ‘feel it’ this year or felt it so much that your heart hurts from all the beating, please…

8 quick ideas about Rosh Hashanah – a summary

Some key ideas to help make Rosh Hashanah special: Rosh Hashanah is not about repentance – the world has not been created yet. It’s pre-creation – the time before all time began. There is no past on this day, so there is nothing to regret and repent for. We are recreated today from scratch, with…

The ‘holy season’ brings light to the secular world

We live in gulous and it’s never as obvious as during the ‘festive’ or ‘holy’ season. Apart from it being a completely secular event that devoted Christians understand is a commercial invention that has nothing to do with religion, secular Christians, atheists and agnostics alike seem to get enthralled by the idea of Christmas. For them, like for…

brilliant omer class by my rabbi: making the counting count!

A quote from this week’s class regarding the Omer, what it means and how to tap into its energy: “the purpose of the counting is not to count the numbers, but to make the numbers count” “today is a day – what have I done today?” (i.e. every day is precious so you should inject…

a little extra soul before Shabbos

We turned the clocks back one hour here in Melbourne. Apart from it being very dark when I leave home for work and when I come home from work it also means a lot less time preparing for Shabbos. Unlike many other frum women who ‘work at home’ and possibly have more opportunity to cook…

you’d have to be all good and all knowing to think of yom tovs

As I come across and discover more and more elements within the daily life of a (nearly) observant Jew, I see how there is absolute proof for Hashem’s existence and ‘qualities’. You don’t have to use bible codes or in depth philosophy, the proof is in the practice of being a Jew. Over Pesach I…

my first baal teshuva pesach

At 25 years of age I have had my first Pesach. The real thing…foil and all. For the first time, after having celebrated Pesach every year since I was born, I have felt the power of Pesach. With the 2 seders past it feels like it’s nearly over and I haven’t had enough. I wonder…