Yom Kippur 2014/5775 | The Kollel Connection
October 3, 2014 – Candle lighting 6:20, Shabbos/Yom Kippur Ends 7:28
Note: Times are for Bensalem; Check your local calendar for exact times in your area.
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This week we celebrate Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. In a very beautiful statement in the mishna, Rabbi Akiva tells us “Happy are you, the Jewish people. Before Whom do you become pure, and Who cleanses you? Your father in heaven…” (Yoma 85b). At first glance Rabbi Akiva’s statement seems a little unnecessary. Certainly when we are given a chance to purify ourselves, and to start fresh, that is a cause for celebration. Why would it be necessary for Rabbi Akiva to point this out? Doesn’t everyone who gets a chance to start fresh feel joy?
The Nesivos Shalom offers a beautiful thought to answer this. Rabbi Akiva is not talking about the fact that we become cleansed. He is talking about how we become cleansed. After a Jew has become ritually defiled through a whole year, how can he or she suddenly become purified of all their sins? How can those spiritual impurities that separate between this Jew and Hashem suddenly disappear?
Rabbi Akiva is pointing out that the very fact that we are so close to Hashem, that is the very cause of the purity that cleans away the effect of sin. The more we feel and recognize the closeness we have to Hashem, the more we are purified from sin.
In another approach, the Nesivas Shalom suggests that the point of Rabbi Akiva is pointing to us to recognize the very source of our atonement is the joy that we feel knowing that we are a child to the Master of the World, and that Hashem is our father. When we can feel it properly, then that closeness to Hashem comes to us, and we stand much closer to obtaining atonement.
May this realization bring us closer to Hashem, and help us come back to Him, amongst the entire Jewish people!!!!
Wishing you and your family a Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year!!
Rabbi Moshe Travitsky
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