Tidbits of Torah

As Yom Kippur Approaches… headshot white 2015cropped

Shabbat Yom Kippur

September 30, 2017- 10 Tishrei 5778

Dear Friends,

We do our best. But, we don’t always get it right. Okay…I’m speaking for myself. If I didn’t get it right, I hope that you will forgive me.

Yom Kippur is a time to re-align our souls. Let’s do our best to be kind to one another on this Yom Kippur. Let’s do our best to be kind to ourselves as well.

Here is a brief summary of Yom Kippur practices – practices meant to enhance the time we spend setting the tone for ourselves, and for our community, for the coming year.

Before Yom Kippur, it is a mitzvah to eat a festive meal, and to light a yahrzeit candle in memory of a deceased parent or close relative.

It is also a custom to light a fire that will burn through Yom Kippur so that the Havdalah candle, lit after dark on Saturday night, will be lit from a long-burning candle or fire that was prepared from before the start of Yom Kippur.

At home, before we leave for the synagogue, we light candles and recite the following two blessings:

Barukh attah Adonai, eloheynu melekh ha’olam, asher kiddeshanu bemitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’shel Yom HaKippurim.

Barukh attah Adonai, eloheynu melekh ha’olam, shehecheyanu v’kiyyemanu v’hehiggiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.

A unique feature of the Kol Nidre service tonight is that everyone who has a tallit, dons a tallit for the evening service. If you have a tallit, please bring it to services this evening and we will all don our tallitot together, as we begin our Kol Nidre service tonight!

The Torah refers to Yom Kippur as Shabbat Shabbaton – the most complete day of rest. All the Shabbat rules apply to Yom Kippur.

However, Yom Kippur takes on its special character through these additional practices. On Yom Kippur, we refrain from the following:

Eating and drinking
Sexual relations
Bathing (except for minimal washing)
Using skin or bath oils
Wearing leather shoes (for two reasons: first of all, leather shoes were considered a luxury; and, secondly, we do not want to remind God of the sin of the Golden Calf!)

Also, if possible, it is customary to wear white on Yom Kippur.

Of all of the additional practices summarized above, we do what we can do, without endangering our health. The point of all of these traditions is to free us up to use our time spiritually. If we can only do a part of the above, we do as much as we can safely do.

If you are able to join us, I look forward to seeing you at services tonight and tomorrow.

Most importantly, may this Shabbat and Yom Kippur be a time of blessing and a time of healing for all of us.

To all of us, wherever we may be tonight and tomorrow, I wish us all a G’mar Tov [a successful conclusion to the High Holy Days]!

Shabbat Shalom and G’mar Tov!

Rabbi Gilah Dror