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Take up your mantle!

When Elijah went up to to heaven, Elisha took up his mantle and walked in the power of Elijah. The Hebrew word for mantle is "aderet". It's root word is "adir", which means excellent, gallant, glorious, mighty, noble and worthy! Elijah was a man with these qualities. The mantle that Elisha received from Elijah meant a calling which was powerful. Elisha had earned it. When the two first met, Elisha had slaughtered the oxen he was plowing with, and burned them on the wood of their yoke as an offering. Then he followed and served the prophet until the day Elijah was taken miraculously to Heaven.

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Where is your crown?

Yesterday, we talked about "tashlich" -- the traditional Jewish ceremony occurring between Rosh ha Shana and Yom Kippur, which involves casting bread crumbs into a river while confessing our sins and watching them be swept downstream. In this passage, however, we read about the importance of casting our crowns. These elders fell down before the Lord, casted their golden crowns and gave God the glory and honor He deserves. How much more should we do the same today?

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Celebrate!

Though the new cycle of Israel's feasts has concluded, I'd like to share one more observation about last week's high holy day, Yom Kippur. It is a day on which adults are afflicting themselves by fasting, abstaining from all pleasures, and repenting. But for the children, Yom Kippur is a very different holiday. This day is my son Obi's favorite holiday! Why? Because the kids are not fasting or recalling their sins or suffering at all – they are celebrating freedom!

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