Raanana Community Kollel
Rosh Hashanah

To Cry Or Not To Cry?
The Sages the word teru’ah as crying, meaning that Rosh Hashanah is a day of weeping. How can some maintain that one should not cry?

You Are Here, But Why?
Improving ourselves seems overwhelming. We have so many things we need to improve…

The Meaning of Mercy
Mercy seems to imply “bending the rules”…

Service, Service, Service!
Three women are remembered on Rosh Hashanah. These women had something in common. They all worried about someone else…

The Jewish New Year
Why is our New Year different from the non-Jewish New Year?

As a kid, I figured if you could live through the long High Holiday service, listening to the cantorical performances, G-d would feel so bad for you that He would immediately forgive all your sins…

Children or Servants?
The owner’s son or daughter does not need to be a paid employee to put in a helping hand…

Yom Kippur

New Year's Revelations
"So why do you think this happened?" asked the Rabbi. "Why do you think that you didn't inherit your father's diligence in learning?"

The Happiest Holidays
Is fasting and spending the whole day in synagogue really Judaism's idea of the ultimate in holiday celebration?

Day of Atonement
One of the heartening aspects about life in Israel is the universal identification with Yom Kippur…

You’re An Angel; I’m An Angel
When Ya’akov was on his deathbed, he questioned his sons on their faith…

A Little Goes A Long Way

Even partial teshuvah is sufficient to activate Yom Kippur’s special power of atonement. Of course, a person who merely pays lip- service to the process of teshuvah will not merit any atonement at all…


Elul And Family
The power of the Jewish people has never been in the individual, but in the family and community. the month of Elul should be utilized to build one’s family unit.

The Art of Hearing
Rabbi Yosi ben Chanina saw a vision of a woman, who was known to be extremely righteous during her lifetime, suffering in gehenom. Strangely, upon closer examination Rabbi Yosi saw that the hinge at the opening to gehenom was intertwined with her ear…

Hanging Onto Holiness By A Thread
A harlot for forty years, Rachav chose to change her ways. It all began with her contemplation of the rope…


Four Species
There is a place for all types of diverse elements in
G-d's world plan.

Sleeping in the Succah
Let us reclaim this lost mitzvah and reinstate it to its former glory.

Joy of Succot through Repentance
Our succot commemorate the Clouds of Glory that returned to the Jewish People in Tishrei.

Back to Earth
How can we maintain the intense level of the Yom Kippur davening while living in this world?

Paper Chains
"You put up decorations in your succah?" he asked. "They look ridiculous!"

Joy of Kohelet
The futility of human endeavor, the vacuity of human existence...how are we to understand Kohelet as the megilah of choice for Succot, the "time of our joy"?


Who Needs A Miracle?
Would there really have been a catastrophe had the menorah in the Beit Hamikdash not been lit?

Hidden Miracles, Revealed Gratitude
Revealed miracles such as the menorah awaken us to realize Hashem's hidden kindnesses as well.

Hillel, Hallel and Chanukah
Shamai and Hillel had very diverse perspectives in life, reflected
in their approach to lighting the Chanukah candles.

Chanukah Warmth
Is it that the house is warm and the family is together, or is it something that is connected to the very essence of Chanukah?

What's in A Name?
Why did the Sages choose to call this festival Chanukah?

The Greeks shared our respect for intellectual pursuits. But there remains a very significant difference between their appreciation of wisdom, and ours.

What are the Jews doing in the world anyway? I know many non-Jews haven’t figured it out - that’s why they have tried to get rid of us for the past three thousand years : (

The Jewish Enlightenment
The period of the second Beit Hamikdash was a new era of Jewish history, in which spiritual achievement could be reached only through effort and exertion.

Passing the Torch
Spiritual salvation is pointless unless we make an effort to communicate our religious values to our children and ensure their transmission to the next generation.

Ner Tamid, Consistent Light
The Jews could have said, “We would like to keep Hashem’s Torah, but what can we do? The Greeks will not let us.”

What Else is Chanukah?
Chanukah is actually a time when we commemorate two distinctly different events in the history of the Jewish nation.

Tisha B'Av

A Perplexing Question
How can it be that from omitting a blessing over the Torah the Jewish people sank to such a low level? If indeed they were learning Torah, why did their study not protect them?

A Distant Holiday
Hashem removed the snake’s legs, causing him to spend the rest of his existence slithering on the ground next to the dirt, and  gave him the dust as his food. Why is this considered a curse?


Losing Sleep
How is it conceivable to posit that the Bnei Yisrael went to sleep the night before and had to be awakened to the giving of the Torah?

Enjoying Shavuot
What is so unique about Shavuot that makes it the one festival on which the requirement of physical enjoyment is never called into question?

Doing And Hearing
“Na’aseh v’nishma” is a way of life which remains just as essential to us today as it was to our ancestors when they first received the Torah.

Sefirat Ha'Omer

The Ox And The Omer
The ox embodies the strength of the individual. Unlike other animals, it prefers to work and accomplish on its own.


A Night To Inspire
The child, who is referred to in the Hagadah as the “eino yoday’a lish’ol”, is not a person who is intellectually limited. Rather it is a person who is uninspired to ask.

Childhood Accounts of the Exodus
I can remember my father getting dressed that morning in his best clothes in honor of the king. Pharaoh changed from his royal robes and jewelry into common work clothes much like those that my father had just changed out of. He began to mix together straw, water, and mud...

Stealing the Afikoman
Our children just asked four questions, and now they deserve some answers. Maybe they realize that the only way they can get our attention is by stealing it.

And You Shall Tell Your Children...
We are part of a people that are unique, special, and miraculous. The Pesach Seder is the opportunity of the year to bridge the generation gap.

The Rebbe's Matzos

The Skulener thought for a few moments and then said, “We have no choice. We will give you the six matzos...

A Kernel of Truth
He was shocked! A wheat kernel in hot soup - surely that was chametz, a most flagrant violation of the holiday! How could chametz be served in his mother-in-law’s house?

10 Questions
Even if we know everything there is to know about our early history, we still have to question and ponder what our lives are all about.


Navigating The Maze
Would we have followed Mordechai’s directives despite our lack of understanding, or would we have opposed him?

Can You Spare Some Change?
Is Purim really the silly day that we perceive it to be, or is there a deeper meaning behind its costume?

Haman And A Pinch Of Flour
The Omer teaches us to appreciate the hand of Hashem, which is at work within nature itself. There is a deep connection between the flour offering and the downfall of the wicked Haman.

Purim Is About The Faces We Wear

Please Hear What I'm Not Saying
Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I'm afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.

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   Woman's Window  
   Writing with Perspective 
Essays, poems,
articles, letters and stories by Elana Horwitz
Pesach Guide part 1
Laws of cleaning and kashering your home for Pesach

Pesach Guide part 2, Laws of bedikat chametz and Erev Pesach