In this shiur (Torah class), Rabbi Michael Taubes examines how the bulk of the Yom Kippur davening (prayers) is comprised of Mussaf, in which the details of the Yom Kippur service are described. Rabbi Taubes analyzes the major components of the machzor davening (prayers) including the Torah reading and Musaf service. This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.
In this shiur (class), Rabbi Michael Taubes discusses the Musaf prayer of Rosh HaShana. This unique Shemoneh Esrei contains essential themes of the holiday. The prayers of Malchiyot, Zichronot and Shofrot are explained with particular relevance to our relationship with G-d on this day. This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.
In this Torah shiur (class), Rabbi Taubes discusses the significance of the Shofar that is blown during the Rosh HaShanah davening. The shofar is a wake up call to renew ourselves and re-examine our unique potential at the start of a new year. Though it is a mitzvah like any other, there is also an emotional aspect that is ingrained in the act of the mitzvah, which forces every person to be alone with his inner thughts as the shofar is sounded. There are two types of sounds discussed in the Talmud - a Tekiah, a flat even sound, and a Teruah, a broken sound. These different sounds contain a paradoxical message, on the one hand, serenity reflected in the even sound of the Tekiah, and on the other hand, the panic and fear conveyed in the broken sound of the Teruah. The ultimate message is a positive one, turning the fear of judgement into a moment of Mercy and Friendship with G-d. The shofar also represents G-d's Presence, hinting to us that He is Nearer to us, bringing a confluence of excitement and tension. The shofar allows us to handle these conflicting emotions in a positive manner. Rabbi Taubes also discusses the custom to eat the simanim, the signs, of Rosh Hashana, such as sweet foods, pomegranates, apples, and other assorted vegetables. Rabbi Taubes explains the inner meaning what a sign is, demonstrating our closeness to Hashem. Our non-verbal communication with Him through the shofar or the eating of the signs of Rosh Hashana are an indicator of our intimate relationship with G-d. Shofar is the only commandment that is performed in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei. This, along with the shape of the shofar, is a proof that shofar blowing is a form of prayer, albeit a non-verbal one.
In the first shiur (Torah class) of the series, Rabbi Taubes discusses the obligation for prayer. He points out that Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur as times of great need, and are therefore specifically designated as days of prayer. However, these days are also deemed as days of joy. Rabbi Taubes discusses the conflicting and complementary themes of Rosh Hashana. These themes can be learned from delving into the meaning of the names of Rosh Hashana. Rabbi Taubes then goes into the actual davening of Rosh Hashana, and explains the changes at the beginning of the Rosh Hashana davening. The class explicates the addition of 'zachrenu l'chaim' to the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei and the expanded bracha of Hamelech Hakadosh. Rabbi Taubes continues the shiur with a discussion of the middle bracha of the Rosh Hashana davening, which summarizes the theme of the day. The shiur ends with the explanation of Rav Soloveitchik for why Psalm 24 is recited after the Rosh Hashana Amida, and the message of Psalm 27, 'l'Dovid Hashem Ori', which is recited from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Yom Kippur. This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats.