We Have the Choice: A Sermon for Parashat Noach

Imagine your neighbors on the left as thieves, stealing whatever they want whenever they want it. Imagine your neighbors on the right as pyromaniacs, igniting things just for fun to watch them burn. Picture your sister as a harlot and your brother an adulterer. Imagine gangs of depraved people committing every vice you can think of and even some you can’t. Imagine the mixing of species that shouldn’t be mixed. Now picture Noach, the one whose capacity for righteousness gave G-d hope and reassured Him that Free Will and this world could still work, it could still be redeemed. Now picture you are Noach sitting in the Ark with your family. The springs have opened, rivers are spilling over

The God Who Pursues Us

Yom Kippur 5775 (2014) "The God Who Pursues Us" Rabbi Isaac Roussel / Congregation Zera Avraham This afternoon we will read the story of Jonah as is the normal practice on Yom Kippur. Most of you are familiar with the story. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell them to repent. Jonah attempts to flee to Tarshish to avoid doing Hashem’s bidding. A storm rises up and the sailors are forced to throw him overboard where he is swallowed by a great fish. It is there after three days and nights in the belly of the fish that he finally repents and agrees to do his mission. The fish spews him out onto dry land, he goes to Nineveh and they repent, which makes Jonah angry. The story leaves us hangi

Shabbat Shabbaton La-nu

Yom Kippur 5775 (2014) "Shabbat Shabbaton La-nu" Rabbi Mark Kinzer / Congregation Zera Avraham In our normal Shabbat Kiddush we say, Ki hu yom techilah le-mikraey kodesh—“for it is the first among the holy assemblies.” Though it occurs weekly, Jewish tradition regards Shabbat as of greater holiness than Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot, and Rosh Hashanah. This greater holiness is reflected in the halakhic rules which govern these special days. Thus, we are not permitted to cook on Shabbat, but we are permitted to cook on the holidays. The one exception to the unrivalled precedence of Shabbat is Yom Kippur. This is the only holiday in the Jewish calendar that exceeds Shabbat in holiness. On Shabbat we

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