Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Yom Kippur Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman

This “Yom Kippur Perspective” is dedicated by Dr. Dan Carr of Boston, MA, in honor of the Board of Directors, administration, teaching staff and almost 500 students in Cheder Chabad of Monsey.

Dear Friend,

As we all stand now on the threshold and eve of the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, allow me to share a thought and a moment to ponder with you. We extend our heartfelt wishes to you and all your loved ones - to have a meaningful Yom Kippur and happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

A Chicago businessman, on his first trip to Israel, headed directly to the Kotel (the Western Wall) in Jerusalem, the remaining outer wall of the Temple Mount. Though it was an ordinary weekday, he was anxious to pray at this holiest of sites.

He arrived, removed his prayer book from his pocket and readied himself for what was sure to be an extra special afternoon prayer. Reflexively, the visitor looked around for a native to inquire "Which way is east?" — when he suddenly realized "this IS east!"

“All Jews face the Temple Mount when praying, but now I am here!”

Every day is unique, an opportunity to reveal G‑d's infinite majesty, that will never   return. Yom Kippur is yet more unique. The Torah calls it "achat bashanah" a singular and matchless day, a once-only annual special chance.

A Yom Kippur machzor (prayerbook) is a one-day tool; unlike the standard siddur or Rosh Hashanah machzor, there is no second day use for this prayer book. So as Yom Kippur progresses, pause before turning each page, and ask yourself: "Am I finished with this page; am I ready to pack it away until next year? Have I exhausted it for all its richness and depth?" Stop and think, contemplate, immerse yourself in the page. 

Don't worry if you fall behind in the prayers and page of the congregation, there's no rush (where is there to go?). Let the chazzan (cantor) sing and let yourself become lost in the words, the nuance, of Yom Kippur. During the rest of the year you can be a conformist, always on the right page; today, however, savor your personal relationship with G‑d. The day is special; you can make it extra special.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day, just as the Western Wall is the holiest site. You are there. There's no holier point to turn to or to wait for. Exhaust it for all its bounty!

May you have a meaningful and uplifting Yom Kippur!

Cheder Chabad of Monsey
extend to you and your family heartfelt wishes for a
חתימה וגמר חתימה טובה לשנה טובה ומתוקה בטוב הנראה והנגלה
 בגשמיות וברוחניות מתוך בריאות הגוף והנפש
A sweet, healthy and prosperous New Yearתשע"ז - 5777, 
in every aspect, materially and spiritually.

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