Our Job on Yom Kippur
Job on Yom Kippur
week we discussed Rosh Hashanah. This week we discuss Yom Kippur.
we had previously mentioned, our role on Rosh Hashanah is to understand why G-d
is our King, and what our role is in our relationship with Him. Once we
understand this, it clears the way for our next job, which is to rectify the
shortcomings which have harmed our relationship with Him.
someone sins it creates a distance between him and G-d. In effect, it pushes us
away from our G-d given mission—perfecting the world.
can we repair this breach we have created? Through the mitsva of teshuva
(returning). The Talmud (Tractate Pesachim 54a) notes that teshuva is a concept
whose creation preceded the creation of the world. The implication of something
being created before the world bespeaks the critical need for this concept to be
in existence for the world to use immediately. There are two reasons for this.
G-d, who created us, understood that without the chance for rectification, man
would be unable to survive. But there is also a deeper meaning. If the whole
raison d'être of creation is to
perfect the world, teshuva does exactly this! Perfection need not be something
that started out perfect; rather, people are judged on their sum total. The
ability to raise ourselves up, as the Talmud writes, lifts us to a higher level than we were
previously (much like a broken bone; in the place where the bone knits, it
becomes stronger than it was before).
do we go about doing teshuva? Maimonides writes there are three things we must
do: 1. We must verbally confess the
sin before G-d—vidduy (if it was a sin done to our fellow man, we must also
ask our fellow’s forgiveness). 2.
We must express remorse. The Jewish concept of forgiveness requires that one
express this remorse not merely because one was caught. 3.
We must accept upon ourselves not to commit this sin again.
of the best ways to be successful in this time of year is for us to accept upon
ourselves a “new year’s resolution”. By doing this we show G-d we are
serious about improving ourselves.
is very important for us to remember that G-d desires our reconciliation with
Him. He is clearly a partial judge as He tips the scales in our favor. During
the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, G-d starts the process with strict
judgment, but ends it with mercy. May all of Israel experience a closer
relationship with G-d during this time.