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THEMES of Featured Laws & Customs

Inside Out - Outside In
The physical action of blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah entails breathing deeply in and then blowing out, reminiscent of the description of the formation of man: "and G‑d blew into his nostrils the soul of life." During the holiday of Sukkot, the most inner, deep felt prayers of the previous holidays must now find practical ways to manifest themselves in the outside world. The in-out, out-in, motion of shaking the four species is a potent symbol of unification and actualizing our goals and hopes for the new year.
Moon Shadows
Man is not able to look upon the Infinite Divine Light and live. We can only see a reflection, a contraction, the "back" part of G d’s manifested Presence while alive. Just as Moses was only allowed to see the ‘back’ of the Divine Presence, so too we may only view it via reflective light as it shines from the Moon.

The reflected light of the holy Divine Presence shines on us and casts a shadow which when we see it, we know that it exists only because of the reflection of G dliness illuminating us, signifying G d's love for us and his acceptance of our prayer and teshuvah.
The Infinite and Unlimited Soul
Souls in the spiritual realms are described as "standing", for they are rooted to a single level. By devoting itself to the observance of the Torah and its mitzvot, a soul attains the potential for progress. This potential is demonstrated in a Jew's shaking back and forth during prayer and Torah study.