Kiddush, sanctification, is the prayer said over wine through which Jews proclaim the uniqueness of Shabbat and sanctify the day. Reciting or hearing Kiddush on Shabbat is an obligation for all adult Jews. The blessing is recited while holding up the kiddush cup in one’s dominant hand. Once the blessing is concluded, the person reciting the Kiddush drinks from the wine and distributes it so that everyone present can actively participate in the mitzvah.
The sages wisely noted in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers 4:1) that a truly wealthy person is one who is happy with his/her lot. Alas, dissatisfaction and the sense of being entitled to something more has frequently been the source of conflict throughout time. One might go back as far as the Tower of Babel to see the tragic results of territorialism.
Today is Rosh Chodesh Mar-Cheshvan, the first day of the month of Mar-Cheshvan, which is the eighth month of the Hebrew calendar. (The count of the months begins with Nisan.) Although the month is named Mar-Cheshvan, it is more commonly referred to as Cheshvan.
It is a fundamental Jewish belief that in the era of the Messiah, the world will be transformed into a state of perfection. As stated by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Rambam, Maimonides – 12th century, Egypt): “At that time, there will be no hunger or war, no jealousy or rivalry” (Mishneh Torah, Law of Kings 12:5).
Because it was customary for idol worshippers to bow fully to the ground before their idols, Jews refrain from bowing down (with the exception being during the Yom Kippur service).
On August 3, 1492, Columbus’ three ships set sail from Spain. But did you know that August 2, 1492, was Tisha B’Av, the Fast of the 9th of Av, and the date by which all Jews were required to convert to Catholicism or leave Spain, as proclaimed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella?
In school students receive As, Bs, Cs, Ds and Fs. Students, however, often comment that they at least deserve an E for effort. This comment reflects an important life lesson that is taught in the very first chapters of the Torah in the story of Cain and Abel.
Today, October 10, 2012, is the last day of “World Space Week.” The heavens and the stars have always fascinated humankind. They are so distant, so vast and, as so eloquently pointed out by the Creator Himself, so seemingly infinite (“…Count the stars, if you be able to count them” – Genesis 15:5).
Rosh Hashana is known as the Day of Judgment (Yom Hadin), the day on which God judges the world. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the day on which God finalizes His verdict on the judgments of Rosh Hashana.
Sunday night starts the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, literally the Gathering of the Eighth, a connected, yet independent holiday, that immediately follows Sukkot.