SEPTEMBER 21-22, 2012 6 TISHREI 5773
“Remember us for life, O King who desires life” (Amidah - Ten Days of Teshubah)
During the Ten Days of Teshubah we ask Hashem for life. During our busy schedules we tend to take life for granted. On the night of Yom Kippur, all Jews around the world recite the Kal Nidre. Kal Nidre is another form of hatarat nedarim, which is an annulment of vows. Tradition has it that the Kal Nidre service originated in Spain. The Jews had a glorious period of growth and prosperity until the terrible Spanish Inquisition began. Many good Jews were forced to accept Christianity in order to save their lives. On the night of Yom Kippur they would secretly gather in caves and basements. There they would recite in front of all the people the words of Kal Nidre, to annul all of the vows of Christianity that they were forced to accept. What a struggle these people went through! How fortunate are we.
As I have mentioned many times, we must ask Hashem on a daily basis for long life with good health. In our prayer of “Zochrenu l’hayim,” Remember us for life, we ask for life. However, we must have a clear definition of life in our minds as we ask for it. Rabbi Matityahu Solomon once said: life means different things for different people. For most people it means simply to live. However, to some people their house is their life. To some their car is their life, and to others, their baseball team is their life. A person must avoid making these things so important that they become that person’s “life-wish,” prompting Hashem to answer this foolish wish instead of granting him the most important gift of life. May Hashem grant us all long life in good health, Amen. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
Although Yom Kippur atones for a good portion of our sins, those transgressions between man and his fellow man are not forgiven unless we ask our friend to forgive us first. This should be a priority on everyone's list as we come to Yom Kippur, because we want to achieve the best atonement possible and we need to be forgiven by those we may have wronged. It is a proper custom to ask all of our friends' forgiveness before the holiday and to say we forgive them when asked by them.. It is especially important to kiss our parents' hands on Ereb Kippur and ask their forgiveness and, if they are not near us, to do it on the telephone. In addition, many synagogues have instituted that before Kal Nidre it is announced that everyone should forgive each other and everyone should say that they have forgiven. This creates a tremendous force of atonement in Heaven and will affect a Divine Pardon by Hashem to all His people. Tizku Leshanim Rabot.
“And Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Your days approach that you must die.” (Debarim 31:14)
The Midrash tells a story about the great sage, Rabbi Shimon ben Halafta, who went to a berit milah at which the father made an impressive feast. After serving a very old wine to the guests, the father proudly proclaimed that he would age a portion of this wine for the future joyful occasions of his son. Upon leaving the feast, the sage encountered the Angel of Death, who seemed to be in a “happy mood.” He questioned the Angel as to the source of his merriment. The Angel responded that he was laughing at the foolishness of human beings. He explained that this man, who had promised to put away wine for the future, would actually be dead in less than thirty days. The sage then asked the Angel to show him his own time of death. The Angel responded, “I have no power of you or other righteous people like you. Hashem often desires your good deeds and He, therefore, adds days to your originally predetermined life-span,” as it says in Mishlei 10:27, “the fear of Hashem adds days.”
During the Days of Awe, our future is precarious. Our merit is meticulously scrutinized every day. The Mezritcher Maggid states that man is placed on this world to fulfill a purpose. When that mission has been completed, we should constantly undertake new spiritual endeavors, so that they may serve as a source of merit for our continued life. With this thought in mind, we might view opportunities for new spiritual tasks as a special gift from Hashem for prolonged life. (Peninim on the Torah)
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
Call to 646-279-8712 or email email@example.com (Privacy of email limited by the email address)
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