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Rabbi’s Blog: Avinu Malkeinu

12/18/2023 10:56:46 AM


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Dear OZ family,


With Chanukah behind us, we have resumed our “Avinu Malkeinu” (AM) daily prayers. There are several different opinions that you may run into in different shuls, and I’d like to explain what we are doing. Some shuls have been saying AM from right after Oct. 7th without a pause, even for Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh or Chanukah. It is a Torah law to call out to God in our times of great need and peril, and this supersedes the festive nature of these days. Saying AM and Hallel on the same day is a rather unusual juxtaposition, but these are unusual times. Some shuls never started saying AM at all. They limited their prayers to additional Tehillim and supplications, but chose not to detract from the Aseret Y’mei Teshuva by adding, what seems to be a long protracted recitation, of a prayer recited only under the most dire of circumstances. If we feel that it is like Neilah on Yom Kippur, when we do say AM even on Shabbat, then we should also be avoiding a whole host of things, like music, entertainment, celebrations, etc. Our custom at OZ has been something in the middle.


We started saying AM, but not on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah. We always said extra Tehillim and said or sang Acheinu, and recited prayers for the hostages. We must have the welfare of Israel on our minds at every turn, in different ways. We have resumed AM because the situation in Israel, while getting somewhat more normal, still needs Heavenly Rachamim. As long as there are still hostages to be freed, and as long as mothers, young wives, and children are still clutching tear-drenched Tehillim books for their sons, husbands, and fathers, fighting to free them, we will say Avinu Malkeinu.


As a reminder that it is probably safer to be in Israel than to be here, please be aware of the terrorist supporters and their mischief around the city. Notice that their insignia is and always has been a picture of all of Israel (check the Israel WhatsApp Group). Also, I am including below this message an updated list of the remaining hostages that we hope are all alive and will return soon to their families.


Alisa & I will be leaving for Beit Elazraki on Wednesday. If anyone would like to contribute to them or to our Israel Emergency Fund in general, we would be happy to be your agent in getting funds to the neediest places in Israel ( - choose "Donation: Chesed Fund")


Stay safe and healthy.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz



Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784