Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 14   No. 49

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Yom Kipur

Kol Nidrei
(Adapted from the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim)

Kol Nidrei on Yom Kipur

The Mishnah requires 'Kol Nidrei' to be recited on Rosh Hashanah, and the reason that we defer it until Yom Kipur, says the Seifer ha'Tanya, is because that is when everybody is available to gather in Shul (unlike Rosh Hashanah, where cooking and the preparation of food is permitted). It is also close to Rosh Hashanah, he points out, and what's more, Yom Kipur is also referred to as Rosh Hashanah, like we find in connection with Yom Kipur of Yovel.


Reciting 'Kol Nidrei' before Nightfall

One recites 'Kol Nidrei' whilst it is still day, says the Magein Avraham, because one cannot release Nedarim at night-time (other than Nedarim that concern Shabbos or Yom-Tov).

Two people (important members of the community) stand next to the Shatz whilst he sings 'Kol Nidrei', the Darkei Moshe explains, because the statement 'With the consent of Hashem and with the consent of the community we grant permission to Daven together with the transgressors' (sung by the Shatz as he walks round the Shul prior to 'Kol Nidrei' [which we will explain shortly]) requires three people. And since they are already standing there, they remain where they are until after 'Kol Nidrei'.

(The Mishnah Berurah however, ascribes the concept of two people to Aharon and Chur, who held Moshe's hands aloft, when, after ascending the mountain overlooking the battle against Amalek, he raised his hands and prayed to Hashem for victory.) The Darkei Moshe rejects the suggestion that they stand there because releasing the Nedarim of the community requires a Beis-Din of three. If it was, he explains, then the question arises as to who releases their Nedarim?

And if you will say that their Nedarim are released by the community, who recite Kol Nidrei quietly together with the Shatz, then they may as well remain in their seats and let the community release all the Nedarim.


Reciting 'Kol Nidrei' together with the Shatz

The community should recite 'Kol Nidrei' quietly together with the Shatz, in order to release the Nedarim of the Shatz, says the Hagahos Minhagim.

(The Mishnah Berurah however, attributes it to the fact that the conditions specified by the Shatz cannot take affect vis-?-vis the community, and they must specify them themselves).


Including the Transgressors in Our Prayers

And the reason that they make the above statement ('With the consent of Hashem ') is due the Gemara in Menachos, which states that any Ta'anis that does not incorporate the transgressors, is not called a Ta'anis. And it learns this from the Chelb'nah (galbanum) which in mixed with the other spices, despite its repugnant smell.

The word 'transgressors' (Avaryanim) by the way, refers to people who have transgressed sins for which they are subject to Niduy or Shamta (excommunication or a ban). Under normal circumstances, they are forbidden to participate in the communal prayers, but on a Ta'anis Tzibur this ban was lifted (Mateh Efrayim).

The P'rishah explains that when the Resha'im do Teshuvah, this creates a great Kidush Hashem, enabling them to join the ranks of the Tzadikim. If, on the other hand, they do not, then the Tzadikim are taken to task, based on the principle 'All Yisrael are responsible for one another'. It therefore transpires that if the Resha'im are precluded from the communal prayers, the prayers of the Tzadikim will not be heard either.


Saying it in a Loud Voice

The Shatz recites 'Kol Nidrei' in a loud voice, says the Levush, to remind the people to recite it together with him, so that they should take to heart the Nedarim that they make during the year; and for the benefit of those who did not get the message the first time, he repeats it a second time, raising his voice slightly to catch their attention. And just in case there are still some people who did not get the hint, he raises his voice once more, and says it a third time. This is because a condition that a person makes can only take affect when he makes it himself, not when others make it on his behalf (as we explained earlier).

According to the Mateh Moshe, repeating 'Kol Nidrei' three times is no more than a mannerism that is typical of Rabbinically instituted statements, such as 'Is this a scythe?' and 'Is this a box?' (both in connection with the cutting of the Omer); 'It is permitted for you!' (when annulling a Neder) and 'Beis Chalutz ha'Na'al' (in connection with the Chalitzah ceremony), all of which are announced three times consecutively.


Annulling Past Nedarim, or Future Ones

The Mishnah Berurah cites the ancient text of 'Kol Nidrei', which refers to annulling retroactively the Nedarim that one made from 'last Yom Kipur until this one' ('mi'Yom Kipurim she'ovar ad Yom Kipurim zeh '), with reference to those Nedarim that one already contravened.

Rabeinu Tam however, objected to this text, changing it to 'mi'Yom Kipurim zeh ad Yom ha'Kipurim ha'bo oleinu le'tovah', with reference to negating in advance the Nedarim that one is going to make in the course of the coming year, and which one is nullifying in advance (provided one does not recall the nullification at the time that he makes the Neder).

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All About Yom Kipur
(Adapted from the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim)

Wearing White Clothes

The Levush gives two reasons as to why we wear clean white clothes on Yom Kipur: 1. because that is what the angels wear (and the Medrash compares us to angels on this holy day); 2. because it is reminiscent of the shrouds in which one buries the dead, making us humble and breaking us to the point that we do Teshuvah on our sins.

The Panim Chadashos, gives a third reason. He bases it on the Pasuk in Yeshayah (1:18) "If your sins will be like red threads, they will become white like snow".


Why is Yom Kipur on the Tenth of the Month?

The reason for that is as follows, says the Ta'amei ha'Minhagim: Adam ha'Rishon sinned on Friday, the day he was created, which was the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Following that, he took upon himself a Nezifah (a minor Cherem), for seven days (like Miriam, in connection with whom the Torah writes "If her father were to spit at her, would she not be in disgrace for seven days? So let her be embarrassed for seven days"), during which time G-d did not speak to him. However, he did not begin the Nezifah on Shabbos, only on Sunday, which means that it terminated on Shabbos, and it was on Sunday, the tenth (of Tishri) that Hashem forgave him, and accepted him back into the fold.


Reciting 'Baruch Shem' Aloud

The reason that we recite 'Baruch Shem' out loud on Yom Kipur, says the Tur, is because the whole year round we only recite it quietly since Moshe 'stole' it from the Angels.

Consequently, on Yom Kipur, when we are considered like angels, it is not necessary to do so.


When Yom Kipur Falls on Shabbos

No 'Tzidkoscho Tzedek'

The reason that we do not say Tzidkoscho Tzedek at Minchah, when Yom Kipur falls on Shabbos, is because it contains the words "Your Judgement is like the great depths', and on Yom Kipur it is mercy that we pray for, not judgement. (Levush). The Maharil adds that for the same reason, we do not say it on Shabbos Shuvah. The R'mo however, rules that we do.


Omitting Shabbos in 'Ato Hivdalto'

In the prayer 'Atoh Hivdalto' that we recite in Viduy of the Ne'ilah Amidah, a yachid does not mention Shabbos together with Yom Kipur, whilst the Shatz does.

The Levush explains that this is because a Yachid inserts it after the conclusion of the B'rachah of Shabbos, and we do not find the mention of any issue, whatever it may be, after the B'rachah. The Shatz on the other hand, inserts this piece together with Viduy, before the termination of the B'rachah, in which case there is no reason not to mention Shabbos together with Yom Kipur.


A Light that Rested

Even when Yom Kipur falls on Shabbos, says the Magen Avraham, for Havdalah, we use a light that rested on Shabbos, rather than create a new flame, as we do on a regular Motza'ei Shabbos.

The reason for this is because the light on Motza'ei Yom-Kipur (unlike the light on Motza'ei Shabbos, which is to commemorate Adam's discovery of fire [which occurred on Motza'ei Shabbos]), is to demonstrate the sanctity of Yom Kipur, on which lighting a fire is forbidden.


No Besamim After the Fast

There is no obligation to smell Besamim on Motza'ei Yom Kipur, even when it falls on Motza'ei Shabbos, says the Kol Bo, because, due to the fast, there is no Neshamah Yeseirah on Yom Kipur (and it is due to the Neshamah Yeseirah's departure after Shabbos that we smell them).

However, both the Magen Avraham and the Taz write that when Yom Kipur coincides with Shabbos, one should smell Besamim, seeing as, in any event, it is not a B'rachah in vain (since one anyway derives benefit from the pleasant aroma).

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(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 364:
Confessing One's Sins (Cont.)

A reason for the Mitzvah because confessing one's sins verbally reveals the sinner's inner thoughts, that he genuinely believes that G-d is aware of all that he does, that he does not for one moment believe, that He does not observe his actions. Moreover, mentioning and spelling out the sin, and expressing remorse at having perpetrated it, will ensure that one takes care not to repeat it. Because after having said remorsefully 'I did such and such a sin, and acted foolishly', one is bound to be more careful not to sin again. And in this way one becomes re-accepted by Hashem.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal define Teshuvah as 'leaving the sin behind and removing it from one's heart and one's thoughts, and then deciding firmly not to repeat it', as the Navi writes in Yeshayah (55:7) "The Rasha should forsake his way, and the iniquitous man, his thoughts". Following that, he should confess to what he did; in other words, he should verbalize his Teshuvah with his mouth, as the Pasuk writes in Sh'mos (32:31) "And they made themselves a golden god". One also needs to specifically state that he will not return to the sin that he is confessing, as the Navi Hosehei'a writes (14:4) "And we will not refer again to the work of our hands as 'our god' '. Chazal also said that the Sa'ir ha'Mishtalei'ach (the goat that was sent out to the desert on Yom Kipur) atones for all the sins in the Torah (both small and big), whether one transgressed be'Meizid or be'Shogeg, whether one was aware of the sin or not, provided one did Teshuvah. Otherwise, it only atoned for the 'small' sins, but not for the 'big' ones (incorporating those sins that are subject to the death penalty at the hand of Beis-Din or Kareis [at the hand of Hashem], as well as swearing falsely or in vain (even though they are not subject even to Kareis). All other Mitzvos (Asei and Lo Sa'aseh which are not subject to Kareis), fall under the category of 'small sins' Nowadays however, when, due to our sins, we do not have the Beis-Hamikdash or even just a MIzbei'ach to atone, all we are left with is Teshuvah, which atones for all our sins. Even if a person was a Rasha all his life, and did a sincere Teshuvah at the end of his life, none of his sins will be mentioned after he dies, for so the Navi writes "and the Rasha will not stumble over his wickedness on the day that he repents on his sins" (Yechezkel 33:12). This ruling however, is confined to sins between man and G-d (such as eating forbidden foods or being intimate with a woman who is prohibited). But with regard to sins between man and man (such as inflicting a wound on one's fellow-man, stealing his property or causing him harm in any other way, whether in deed or verbally), one cannot attain Divine pardon through Teshuvah alone. In that area of sin, one also needs to return what one stole, and appease the victim for what one did to him. Should his friend not wish to forgive him, Chazal have already instructed what one needs to do to attain Divine forgiveness In connection with this Mitzvah, the Tosefta lists twenty-four things that retard the Teshuvah The remaining details of the Mitzvah are discussed in Yoma and in the Rambam (in the first Perek of Hilchos Teshuvah). This Mitzvah applies everywhere and at all times to men and women alike. Whoever fails to confess his sins on Yom Kipur (the day that is eternally designated for forgiveness and atonement) has negated this Mitzvah. Woe to the man who dies without Viduy! He will have to bear his sin forever The basic Viduy that we have received traditionally from our Rebbes, and which all of Yisrael says during the days of Teshuvah comprises the one statement 'In truth, we have sinned, and are guilty '. The Gemara in Shabbos (32a) teaches us that if someone is on his death-bed, one instructs him to say Viduy, adding that this is what all people on their death-beds do. And so we learned in Masechet Semachos 'When someone is approaching death, we tell him to confess before he dies, adding that on the one hand, many people confessed and did not die, whilst on the other, there are many who did not confess and died, and there are many who walk in the street and confess; because on the merit of confession you will live'. If one is able to confess verbally, then one should; otherwise, he should confess in his heart. The Ramban, quoting Chasidim and men of good deeds, records the following text for people on their death-beds: 'I admit to You, Hashem my G-d and the G-d of my fathers that my healing and my death lie in Your Hands. May it be Your will to grant me a complete recovery. However, should I die, may my death serve as an atonement for my sins (Chato'im), the iniquities (Avonos) and the rebellious sins (Pesho'im) that I sinned, was iniquitous or rebelled before you, place my portion in Gan Eden and let me merit the World to Come that is reserved for the righteous'.

One should take care not to deviate from the above order - first the Chato'im, then the Avonos and then the Pesho'im, since the Tana'im argue over this point. In fact, R. Meir actually reverses the order, in keeping with Hashem, who taught Moshe to say 'Nosei Avon, va'Fesha ve'Chato'oh ", only we follow the opinion of the Chachamim, who begin with 'Chata'im, following the progression according to the sins' severity And as for the order in which the Pasuk records them, that was merely Moshe, who prayed to Hashem to accept Yisrael's Teshuvah and to turn the sins that they perpetrated be'Meizid ('Avon' & Pesha') into a Shogeg.

* * *


Pirkei de'R. Eliezer relates how during the forty days that Moshe was praying to Hashem to forgive Yisrael for the sin of the Golden Calf, Yisrael fasted. On the last day (the ninth of Tishri), they continued fasting overnight, and on the following morning, when Moshe returned with the second Luchos, Yisrael burst into tears, and Moshe followed suit, until their voices penetrated the Heaven. Hashem's Mercy welled up inside Him, and He swore by His Throne of Glory that this day would be an annual day of mechilah, and s'lichah and kaparah until the end of time.

As a matter of fact, it is because, on account of that oath, our forgiveness is a foregone conclusion, that we eat more and indulge in a Se'udah on Erev Yom-Kipur.

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