Tag Archives: Rosh Hashanah


The Shofar from a Different Angle

September 27, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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There is a special feeling during the month of Elul and subsequent ten days of repentance. This atmosphere makes it easier for us to awaken the inner longing for attachment to Hashem. We should strive to feel “There is only You Hashem in this world.” This love is in concealment at this time, but it still exists.

The sounds of the shofar allude to love. This sound is meant to cause us to call out to Hashem and not chas v’Shalom to bring judgment on us. In fact the teruah expresses joy as it is closely related to the word hari’u, to shout for joy. The mystical books teach that although the sound of the Shofar reminisces a lament it causes Ahm Yisrael to draw Hashem’s love to them. Joy can also be released by shedding tears.

Rosh Hashanah is the only holiday which the moon is hidden. This hints to the idea that Hashem’s love is constricted. In spite of that our love for Hashem burns strong in our heart. In fact due to the experience of Hashem’s awe we become more aware of His presence.

The essence of Rosh Hashanah is not judgment but to awaken our desire to bond to Hashem. This can be learned by seeing the word teruah as related to the word reut, friendship and bonding. Through hearing the Shofar we merit uniting with Hashem in the most profound way.

Crying Out to Hashem

September 6, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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Tehillim (77:2): “Koli el Elokim v’etzaka koli el Elokim v’haazin alai (My voice is to Hashem and I shall cry out; my voice is to Hashem and listen to me)” – How do we feel when we cry out to Hashem?

On an intellectual level most of us believe that Hashem listens and answers our prayers; but do we believe this in our heart? This is an essential question to ponder ahead of doing teshuva since if we don’t feel Hashem cares about us, what motivates us to want to talk to Him and work on mending our relationship?

This month is focused on teshuva; to return.  Where do we need to return?  Sefer Yirmiyahu writes (31:20), “Return Virgin of Israel, return to these, your cities.”  We are the virgin who has the opportunity to return to our betrothed groom to the land rebuilt (Har Sinai). We remember being there, our souls are still connected to this special place and time.  Internally we crave to unite once again with our Creator and experience Oneness; we long to return to Gan Eden.  Awareness of Hashem’s presence becomes faint as the years pass and we forget how beloved we are.

Let us use this month to recall that special love, the unique relationship we share with our Creator.  There was a time where we saw the tree as well as its roots; wholesome vision and connection to its source. Now we are in conflict and must remember what we once had.

Let’s cry to Hashem that we merit to feel His closeness and absolute love.


Elul ~ Yamei Ratzon

September 5, 2016
Orit Esther Riter
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The month of Elul are also called Yamei Rachamim and Yamei Ratzon (days of Heavenly compassion and days of desire). This is hinted even in the gematria of the word Elul = 67 (6+7=13 middot rachamim). This is the month we inhale the entire year, gather in the whole year and recount. Hashem is continuously creating the world anew. Particularly this month we are given an opportunity to refresh our spirit; work on old relationships and create new ones.
These are days to develop our ratzon – what do we really want from life? Where do our genuine desires lie? What was Hashem’s intention when He created us? We need to ask questions that help transform us. How would you answer the following questions?

1) Do we look at what happens in our lives with angry eyes?
2) Do we view challenges as punishment questioning Hashem’s fairness?
3) Can we see compassion in every struggle and see the benefit, the ultimate good in what we us are going through?
4) Does it bring us to a higher level of consciousness and motivate us to reach higher?

We are in exile and cannot see Hashem’s goodness readily in all life’s events; we are disconnected from our inner psyche. Our psychological balance is compromised and our calling is to correct the way we perceive our reality.

This month we are gifted with special Siyatta D’Shmaya, Divine assistance that enables us to see life through emuna eyes. Thank You Hashem for this amazing month!

Rosh Hashanah Segulot

September 18, 2014
Daily Dose Of Emuna
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Special segulos for Rosh Hashanah, as told by

Rebbitzin Yamima Mizrachi:

  • It’s vital everyday not to get angry, but in particular on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, this is the day the Jewish people are judged, the gentiles are judged on the second day. On this day there is strict judgment in Shamayim and it is a must not to get angry at all, not even to think in an angry way. Don’t invite guests that you know will ‘push your buttons’ that you will not be able to control, wait to host on the second day. Don’t get stuck in worry, anger and definitely not in sadness. The way the year begins, is the way it will flow the coming year. Don’t allow yourself to speak badly.


  • Before sitting down at the Seder look at everyone’s eyes and bless them each individually, feel forgiveness for everyone around you. Allow love and peace to enter your heart. Everyone should say a ‘L’Chaim’ out loud and bless each other with complete simcha.


  • The Rosh Hashanah table should be filled with abundance of colors, different types of foods.


  • Apples and honey: use red apples, it is a segula for a zivug, to find one’s soul mate/shalom bayit and for getting pregnant. It is an eis ratzon, special holy time, before eating the apple, smell the apple and ask for whatever you want. It was at this time that Ya’akov received the blessing from his father Yitzchak. When he smelled Ya’akov he smelled the fragrance of Gan Eden, of the apple, and even though he was undeserving of the bracha, due to the fact that it was supposed to go to Esav, he still received it. Ask for anything you wish.


  • Pomegranate and rubia: ask Hashem to bring out your potential. We all have never ending potential, do we use it all? Ask Hashem for help.. just like it’s hard to take apart the seeds, please Hashem help us realize our potential and be who we are meant to be.


  • Leeks, beets, dates: ask Hashem to take away any feelings of resentment, anger, bitterness towards anyone. Ask Hashem to help us throw these feelings away from ourselves and remove them from our heart. Ask Hashem to enable you to be able to rebuild your feelings and relationship with these people.


  • Fish head: ask Hashem that you should lead your household and not anyone else (like our children who tend to control us…) when looking at the fish, ask Hashem to protect you from the evil eye.


  • All throughout the seder, ask Hashem to make your home a palace: you the queen and your husband the king, your children the prince/princesses. Ask Hashem to make you all children of the King, this requires us to act like children of the King, meaning again: DO NOT GET ANGRY, WORRIED, DISTRESSED, be royal.


  • Get up early on Rosh Hashanah; this blesses the coming year with ease. A year that your wishes will be fulfilled quickly. Try to postpone your afternoon rest until after 1:00 pm.


  • It is vital to daven for parnassah on Rosh Hashanah, according to Rav Dessler ztk’l. This proclaims that we trust in Hashem and know that everything is from Him. Ask to be a giver of tzadakah.


  • Very important to dress festively, even wear white and be HAPPY‼


  • Before hearing the shofar accept upon yourself: v’Ahavta L’Reiacha Kamocha (Love your neighbour as you love yourself). If you hold a grudge towards someone in the shul, the shofar will not be able to ascend and sweeten the judgments.


  • During the shofar: think of the following: resurrection of the dead, that Hashem can revive anything that has ‘died out’ in you be it physically and spiritually. Don’t talk during the shofar blowing. Think about all that you want to be. We are being reborn!


  • Very important to shed a tear during the shofar and to wipe the tear over your forehead (to wipe away transgressions {AriZal zt’l}). This serves as a shield for the entire year against any bad things i.e. illness. Whoever is able to shed a tear then can be rest assured that she is being judged at that moment and if she comes back to teshuvah at that point, she will be blessed with a good year.


  • During the first blow of shofar, take one particular transgression that you did and ask for forgiveness. During the second blows of the shofar, the shevarim, hurt/cry for those who are in pain and in sorrow, i.e. the families of terror victims, the families that lost their loved ones, those who are ill….


  • During the next set of blows accept upon yourself a new mitzvah: tznius, tefillah, tzedakah… The intention should be in your heart without uttering a word.


  • During Mussaf prayer when the chazzan says the word: ayeh, you can ask for one of three things, whisper to yourself:


1) Parnassah             2) Ruach Hakodesh             3) Righteous Children



  • Once we hear the shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the judgments are lessened and sweetened and there is less stringency in Shamayim.


  • Don’t eat anything sour or spicy on Rosh Hashanah, only sweet foods. Everything that you do makes an impact on the entire year. Don’t use walnuts or black grapes.



Other segulos:

1) Prepare the seder table early in the afternoon, it is a segula that no troubles will come upon you the entire year, B’H.

2) Try to do ta’anit dibur, not to speak, the morning of Rosh Hashanah (speak only words of Torah). If possible fast as well; this way 1/3 of your transgressions will be wiped away. This comes out on Wednesday morning.

3) Candles for Rosh Hashanah: before lighting give 18 of ‘something (coins, bills) to tzedakah: 18 cents, 18 dollars, etc.. This serves as a pidyon nefesh. Ask Hashem that if something bad c’v is supposed to happen, let the tzedakah stand as a protector against it.

4) Buy a new knife and use it on Rosh Hashanah eve to cut open the challah and apple. It is a segula for a long life and for parnassah.

5) Bake challahs: bake it in the shapes of a circle.

6) Bircat Hamazon: the first one said on Erev Rosh Hashanah say it with enthusiasm and joy, it is a segula for an abundance of parnassah.

7) Recite the following perakim of Tehillim Alef, Beit, Gimmel and Daled before sleeping on both nights to prevent bad dreams.

8) Buy a new dress/clothing for Rosh Hashanah. Intend on this new article when reciting the bracha of She’hechiyanu




ויהי רצון מלפני אדון כל הנשמות ריבון כל המעשים  שתתחדש  בחסד וברחמים  ברכת רבי ישמעאל בן אלישע כהן גדול :

יהי רצון מלפניך שיכבשו רחמיך את כעסך ויגולו רחמיך על מידותיך ותתנהג עמנו לפנים משורת הדין



Believe in a sweet year

September 8, 2014
Orit Esther Riter

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Today’s daily dose is dedicated L’iluy nishmat Hinda (Hedi) bat Gavriel a’h. May her neshama bask in the Divine radiance amongst all of the righteous souls who have departed from this world, Amen.

The ‘work’ of Elul is to strive for perfection. The goal should be to refine our ‘natural tendencies’ and go beyond that which comes easy. With each effort we make to elevate our behavior we ‘remind’ ourselves that the ‘day’ is rapidly approaching. Measure for measure as we are ‘concerned’ and desire to merit a favorable judgment, so too Hashem ‘worries’ that all decrees be sweetened, B’H.

Yet at the same time, if we struggle to develop our middot (attributes) we must then believe that we will merit a good year, B’H. Rabbi Yerucham Halevi Levovitz ztk’l of Mir Yeshiva brings down a beautiful teaching that demonstrates how ‘believing’ in Hashem’s compassion essentially brings about a compassionate outcome.

R’ Levovitz explains in order for Hashem’s ‘promise’s’ to actualize it must undergo a two-step process. The first step is for us to recognize the promise and the second step is to have emuna that the promise will be fulfilled. In the most simplistic terms: in order to ‘enable’ Hashem to fulfill His promise we must first have ‘emuna’ that He will fulfill it.

We give our ‘all’ this month to create lasting change in our lives. We yearn to achieve perfection and complete our soul’s mission in this world. However, it is no less vital for us to have emuna that Hashem will accept our tefillot and genuine effort towards self-improvement and grant us with a sweet New Year, Amen.

True reward

September 4, 2014
Orit Esther Riter
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Today’s daily dose is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Dovid Leib ben Kayla. May Hashem shower him with a complete healing amongst all of those sick and suffering in Klal Yisrael, b’karov, b’rachamim, Amen.

Hashem ‘designed’ this world in such a way that the month of Elul is conducive with spiritual growth and strengthening our connection to Him. Certainly this month encourages us to pray at no end for our requests to be answered for the very best, yet the true reward gained from tefillot this month is hundredfold.

Genuine closeness to Hashem by far surpasses the reward of having our requests answered. The exalted feeling of knowing that we are personally being guided and cared for by the Supreme Authority of the World, Melech Malchei HaMelachim HaKadosh Baruch Hu, envelops us with a sense of tranquility and boundless inner joy.

The purpose of the Yomim Noraim is ‘Atah Horehta Lada’at ki Hashem Hu Elokim… (You have been shown, in order to know that Hashem is G-d….)” Tefillah is the means by which we implant this awareness. We inject the mindset that Hashem was, is and will always be with us particularly this month by intensifying our prayers. Communication is the means to mending any broken relationship.

It is a tremendous gift to be able to ‘talk’ to Hashem and express our inner feelings and thoughts to Him.  Speech is an expression of Malchut (Kingship); it enables us to ‘rule’ over our feelings.  We are better able to deal with our feelings by speaking and releasing them from within. The benefit of speaking to Hashem is double.  Firstly we empty out our burdens.  Secondly we implant the awareness that Hashem is with us, listening and caring about us in every way.

Call Out His Name

September 3, 2014
Orit Esther Riter
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Today’s Daily Dose of Emuna is dedicated L’iluy nishmat R’Kehas ben R’Avraham Yitzchak z’l. May his neshama bask in the Divine radiance together with all of the tzaddikim who have departed from this world, Amen.

The culmination of the Yamin Noraim is Simchat Torah. It is customary to open the tefillot of Simchat Torah with the passuk (Devarim 4:35): “You have been shown, in order to know that Hashem is G-d; there is none else besides Him.” From here we learn that the entire purpose of the Chagim and all of our avodah is to implant into our consciousness ‘Ein Od Milvado.

The following parable describes the importance of remembering that Hashem is always with us:

A doctor was asked to work night shift in a hospital ward that cares for the terminally ill. He was fresh out of medical school. He was told that due to a shortage of doctors he would have to work his shift on his own. He was greatly concerned that he would not be able to properly tend to the patients on his own. When he aired his concerns to the head doctor the reply was, “Most probably it will be a quiet night. However if it becomes over whelming for you to handle, immediately call for assistance.”

From the onset of his shift he already experienced difficulty in tending to the needs of the sick. Patient after patient began to complain as the doctor lacked the medical knowledge to treat them and handle such dire illnesses on his own. As a result one of the patients died when he did not receive his vital medication in time.

The doctor was sued for medical negligence. His defense, “I performed my duty as a doctor with every bit of strength and care that I possessed. I gave my maximum to those patients. I ran from room to room, from floor to floor and didn’t rest the entire night. How can I be blamed for not having enough time to attend to the patient or for failing to make the right medical decisions? It was humanly impossible for me to do any more than I did.”

The judge then replied, “But weren’t you told to call for assistance in such a case where it became too much for you to handle alone? Who asked you to manage without help? The reason you are found guilty is because you didn’t ask for assistance as you were instructed to do in such a case.”

This is what Hashem will tell us on the Day of Judgment – “I understand that you faced many difficulties in life and it was challenging to cope with them. Who asked you to tackle them alone? Weren’t you taught that you could always reach out and ask Me for help – anytime, anywhere, no matter what? All you had to do was call out to Me, ‘I can’t handle it, I need Your help!’ I would have then come to your aide and directed you how to manage is such a situation.”

We cannot live our lives without Hashem in our lives. We do not have the strength or knowledge to choose which path is the correct. Therefore we are instructed to yell out, “Aba, please help!”

Ein Od Milvado – the reality that Hashem is always with us and there to help when we call His name is not just ‘Bubbly talk’. It is real. Hashem wants us to ask for help since He knows we cannot make it through life without Him!  That is one of the most important lessons of the High Holidays.  And of Jewish life…

Pure and Wholesome

September 2, 2014
Orit Esther Riter
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Elul is a time of special closeness – a desire to unite with Hashem. This month has the power to ignite within us a strong fiery passion to return to Hashem – a life of clarity and keen awareness that Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li (I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me).

A ‘Ba’al teshuva’ is defined as someone who ‘owns teshuva’. Teshuva is shaped by a desire to ascend spiritually, despite the inevitable downfalls of our past. Sefer Yirmiyahu (31:20) brings down: “Shuvy Bitulat Yisrael  (Return O virgin of Israel…”) After the teshuva process is completed, Ahm Yisrael returns to purity, a virgin incapable of being defiled. The Ramban ztk’l teaches that this indicates Hashem’s great love towards Knesset Yisrael. Hashem loves us and is ‘willing’ to give us a second chance and ‘waits’ until we make teshuva.

This teaching highlights the foundation of teshuva – the ability to start anew and rely on a second chance. When we embrace the Divine gift of teshuva, we reveal our innate pureness and all transgressions are completely eradicated, as though they never occurred. We return to our untarnished G-dly core like being reborn.

Klal Yisrael is Hashem’s bride. Elul reawakens the G-dly spark hidden within each of us by flooding us with feelings of yearning and the desire to reconnect with Hashem’s love. In the process of returning to our innocence, our mindset also shifts gear. We are motivated to look at life from a fresher perspective, with renewed enthusiasm. Our prayers, mitzvot and Torah study are injected with the freshness and excitement associated with anything new and novel. Like a newly married couple’s infatuation during their first year together, a complete teshuva process enables us to reignite our intense enchantment and love for Hashem.

Returning Home

September 1, 2014
Orit Esther Riter
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The basis of Torah is emuna in Hashem. Hashem awaits our return no matter what happens and despite our mistakes and deficiencies. Though it may be difficult to grasp intellectually and even emotionally, this concept of complete acceptance when we return represents emet Torah.

This month our relationship with Hashem takes a different turn – one of love weaved with reverence. Chodesh Elul holds tremendous power because it affects the entire following year. Generally, we are under the false impression that we deserve and have a right to everything we have and own. We become accustomed to our lives. For instance, our ability to see today leads me to assume we will see – and have a right to see – tomorrow. We presume that because Hashem has gifted us with life today, we deserve our life and our standard of living. Yet, this is falsehood in its truest form. We are constantly subject to Hashem’s endless compassion and care. For instance, Hashem owns our bodies to us and lends them to us every day because he trusts us and has mercy on us.

Though Hashem is close to us, we still ‘fear’ our impending judgment. This month is a time of great trepidation which should be used to motivate us to ‘return.’ Even if we don’t consciously grasp the idea of judgment or feel heartfelt fear, we are taught to create within ourselves a feeling of awe over the impending collective and individual decrees to be decided on Rosh Hashanah.

The days leading to Yom Kippur are known as Yemei Ratzon (the days of desire/true will). Implanting the desire to return from our erred roads and come back to Hashem is the main avodah of this important month. This month we open our hearts and plead, “Ha’Shiveinu Hashem Elecha v’Nashuva… (Help us return to You, and we shall return…).”

Yet, how can we practically achieve this level of awe and thus be motivated to return if we do not feel it? First, we can know there are two paths in front of us – a pathway to Gan Eden and a pathway to Gehinom. Second, we can actively and constantly remind ourselves of Hashem’s kindness, mercy and compassion by pointing out how much worse our lives could be. By acknowledging that we are ‘hanging’ by a rope, unsure of what the future has in store and reminding ourselves how every blessing can be taken away by Him in an instant, we build our desire to please our Aba and return to Him.

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