Sermons

Erev Rosh Hashana 5781 – Dismantling (and Building Anew)

A cluster of 4 rabbis made their winding way to Jerusalem. When they reached Mount Scopus, they looked out across the valley and could see what was once the magnificent and holy Temple, the centre of Jewish life, now destroyed, and they tore their garments in grief. This scene takes place some time after 70 …

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Failing Wisely

The following sermon was given by Rabbi Miriam Margles on Yom Kippur, 5779. The first sin, the original human sin, from a Jewish perspective, is not Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yes, that rebellious bite was in opposition to God’s one restriction in the Garden of …

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Judging Others Wisely

The following sermon was given by Rabbi Miriam Margles on Rosh Hashanah Day, 5779. “Ha’dan chavero le’kaf zechut/הדן חבירו לכף זכות – Anyone who judges others favourably, danin oto le’zechut/דנין אותו לזכות – that person is themselves, judged favourably.” These are the words of the Talmud (Shabbat 127b). Le’kaf zechut is a phrase that implies …

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Judging Ourselves Wisely

The following sermon was given by Rabbi Miriam Margles on Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5779. I want to think with you about judgement. Our theme this Rosh Hashana is Judging Wisely and on this Yom Ha’Din, this Day of Judgement, which sits at the centre of a whole season of reflection, self-evaluation and judgement, I want …

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5778 Yom Kippur Sermon: A WOUNDED PERSON’S GUIDE TO FORGIVING

Most of the prayers of Yom Kippur and the practices of teshuvah, of repentance and return, are opportunities to ask for forgiveness.  We surface remorse for the ways we messed up.  We become attuned to harmful behaviours we weren’t conscious of.  We take responsibility for our wrongs and lay the groundwork for lasting change in …

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5777 Rosh Hashana Day Sermon – THE WHOLE TORAH ON ONE FOOT

Two of the greatest Jewish scholars of the mid-first century, Shammai and Hillel, are approached by a proselyte. (A proselyte, by the way, is not a low calorie prosle.  A proselyte is a potential convert to Judaism).  So, the proselyte says to the great Shammai and Hillel, “Teach me the whole of Torah while standing …

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5776 Kol Nidrei Sermon – WHAT DO WE HUNGER FOR?

A book came out this year by Mark Schatzker called The Dorito Effect.  In it, he describes how the giants of the food industry and commercial agriculture have conspired to construct our hunger. They did not develop as a deliberate partnership but these two industries, working side-by-side, have radically changed the ways we crave, taste, …

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5776 Rosh Hashana Day Sermon – CONNECTING TO COMMUNITY: WHAT WE BUILD TOGETHER

In the middle of the night, an Iowa corn farmer who’s down on his luck hears a voice:  “If you build it, they will come.” He dismisses it as a dream.  He thinks he’s losing his mind. But it keeps echoing in his ears.  “If you build it, they will come.”  As you know, in …

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