Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tishrei: Torah study

Dear Friends,

This is a post about the Jewish month of Tishrei, as it relates to The Chazak Plan: A 12 Month Journey to Spiritual Strength.

Rosh Chodesh Tishrei, which is also Rosh Hashanah, begins next Wednesday night, the 24th of September, and lasts for two days.

From now until after Yom Kippur, we continue our focus on repentance and turning over a new leaf. The first reading for this month (see below) can be helpful in identifying areas of your life to repair and upgrade. Choose one suggestion from the reading and add it to your daily checklist (at least for the 10 Days of Repentance, which start with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur).

After Yom Kippur, the focus switches to the festival of Sukkot, the topic of the second reading.

After which are the festivals of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. On Simchat Torah we celebrate the completion of the yearly cycle of the Five Books of Moses and begin a new cycle with the book of Genesis. Now is a great time to join this annual study of the Bible. There is tremendous spiritual power in learning the same portion studied by millions of Jews around the world. Next Simchat Torah, when you finish the Bible, your celebration of the holiday will be even more meaningful.

Spend time each week learning the weekly Torah portion – there are many excellent articles, translations and commentaries available. Preferably, each day, study 1/7th of the weekly portion (also known as an aliya) or study the whole portion on Shabbat.

If possible, study at least weekly with a partner, either the Bible or a different area of the Torah. To do so, contact your local synagogue, or go to, who will pair you with a partner free of charge.

Torah study nourishes the soul as food nourishes the body. Study Torah every day of your life – even if only for a few minutes, e.g., reading a few pages from a book, an article, or listening to a lecture during your commute. Preferably, have a set inviolate time for Torah study.

The two most important areas of Torah to study are (A) teachings which inspire you and (B) Jewish law – so you know how to act. For suggested readings for both categories, see endnotes (3) and (5) at the end of the first reading for this month.

Readings for the month:

How to Live a Fulfilling Life: An Action Plan

Taking Refuge in a Sukkah of Faith

Have a Shana Tova,


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