The Double Edged Sword of Yom Kippur

Friday, 17 September, 2021 - 11:57 am

We are coming off a most meaningful Yom Kippur. People were excited to be back in Shul after an evacuation. I saw a potent energy this Yom Kippur at Chabad House. That being said, Yom Kippur can be a double-edged sword.

On one hand, a Jew can come away from Yom Kippur energized and uplifted, with a passion and drive to embrace the next Jewish experience. For this Jew, Sukkot cannot come soon enough. So many Mitzvahs and causes to celebrate. One can eat in the Sukkah, shake the Lulav and Etrog, and dance on Simchat Torah. For such a Jew, there is nothing as empowering as the momentum derived from a vibrant Yom Kippur. There is enough fuel in the Jewish tank to last for a long time. Yom Kippur whetted the appetite for Yiddishkeit and there is a feeling of wanting more and more. I am very excited for such a Jew, because their Yiddishkeit quotient will soar over the coming year.

On the other hand, one might come away from Yom Kippur feeling like a fully accomplished Jew with no need to consider Yiddishkeit until next year. Since we were given a clean slate, no further investment of effort is necessary. For such a Jew, there is an anti-climactic sentiment associated with the end of Yom Kippur. I am saddened by this attitude, because it represents a wasted opportunity to harness the power of Yom Kippur to take us to the next level.

I beg you, be in the first category rather than the second! Don’t let Yom Kippur be for naught. Yom Kippur is about developing our relationship with Hashem.  A relationship requires effort and investment. Every Mitzvah, every Jewish holiday celebration, every chance to pray or study Torah, constitutes an investment in the relationship. Hashem is pleading with us to be invested in this relationship that He so strongly desires. It is the best thing that can happen to us!

Wishing you a meaningful post-Yom Kippur rest of the Jewish year!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin 

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