The High Holidays Videos

September 18 to September 28, 2020

Why Do We Need To Confess Our Sins?

Rabbi David Fohrman 39 min video

Hannah prayer meaning get closer to God
The Meaning Of Hannah’s Prayer

Rabbi David Fohrman 41 min video

The Yamim Norai’m And The Difference Between Awe And Fear

Rabbi David Fohrman 1 hour, 18 min video


Role of conscience in moral life
Repentance: The Guiding Voice Of Our Moral Conscience

Rabbi David Fohrman 1 hour, 34 min video

Interpreting The Meaning Of Unetaneh Tokef

Rabbi David Fohrman 1 hour, 11 min video


The High Holidays Videos


Elul 2020

Elul begins on August 21st, 2020, and ends September 18th, 2020. The Hebrew month of Elul is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah (Tishrei 1–2) and Yom Kippur (Tishrei 10).

According to the Talmud, the word “Elul” is an acronym for Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li – a phrase from the Song of Songs which translates to “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” where beloved allegorically refers to God.

As such, it is a time to reshape our lives and return to God. Elul is a month of deep introspection, where we ask for forgiveness so we can come into the New Year – Rosh Hashanah – with a clean slate.

Elul Traditions

  • Shofar blowing every morning (except for Sabbath) from Rosh Chodesh Elul until the day before Rosh Hashanah. The shofar blasts are meant to inspire us to begin our soul searching and repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days.
  • Many recite Psalm 27 every day from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Sukkot.
  • Special penitential prayers called Selichot are added to prayer services before Rosh HaShanah, on either the first Saturday night beforehand or the Saturday night prior to that, depending on what day of week Rosh Hashanah falls out.

The 10 Days Of Repentance

Rosh Hashanah is the day we crown God as King of the universe. On that day, our fate for the upcoming year is “written” in a Divine book of judgments. That fate is then held in balance for 10 days wherein everyone has the chance to repent and alter their verdict until it is “sealed” on Yom Kippur.

This period is known as the 10 Days of Repentance and they occur in the first 10 days of Tishrei. It is a time of intense repentance, prayer, and charity – the three things said to remove the evil decree.

What Are The High Holidays?

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, which translates literally to “head of the year,” is the Jewish New Year. It is the new year for people, animals, and for legal contracts. According to commentators of the Talmud, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of man (Tractate Rosh Hashanah).

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as a two-day holiday, beginning on the first day of the month of Tishrei. According to the Torah, however, Rosh Hashanah is a one-day celebration.

Since the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, it became more difficult to determine the date of Rosh Hashanah in the same way it had been determined prior, so a second day was added to Rosh Hashanah to account for the unclarity. The two days of Rosh Hashanah are referred to as a Yoma Arichtah, one long day.

The Talmud teaches us that three books are opened on Rosh Hashanah, where the fate of the righteous, the wicked, and the intermediate individuals are recorded.

The Bible refers to this holiday as Zichron Teruah and Yom Teruah, “day of blowing the horn” (Leviticus 23:24, Numbers 29:1). In Jewish prayerbooks, Rosh Hashanah is also called Yom HaZikaron, “a day of remembrance.” The Mishnah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the day of judgment.

The prayers for Rosh Hashanah are broken up into three parts: Malchuyot, Zichronot, and Shofrot. The overarching theme of the prayers and of the holiday is the coronation of God as King of the universe.

Since Hebrew days begin at sundown, the beginning of Rosh Hashanah is at sundown at the end of 29 Elul, going into 1 Tishrei.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, or “Day of Atonement,” is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It is a fast day filled with intense prayer. According to tradition, a person’s fate for the upcoming year is “sealed” on Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is the 10th day of Tishrei and it marks the end of the 10 Days of Repentance, which began with Rosh Hashanah on the first of Tishrei.