: "Search for G-d where He can be found, call to Him when He
is near" (Yeshaya 55). These are the 10 days between Rosh Hashana
and Yom Kippur (Talmud Rosh Hashana).
"Search for G-d where he can be found." During these days,
G-d is present in each and every Jew as a matziah, like something
discovered or attained without any effort. This could be an advantage,
but the verse is teaching us that to be truly complete, we have to
make an effort too - we have to "search". What is the appropriate
effort required? Even though He is found, we have to outdo ourselves
with searching for Him. How? By doing t'shuvah - repenting.
A man came to Rebbe Yisroel of Ruzin. Rebbe, he said, I am a sinner
and I want to do t'shuvah. OK, answered the tzadik,
so why don't you do it? Because, the man answered, I do not know how.
How did you know how to sin, the tzadik asked him? The man
answered, I acted and afterwards I realized I had sinned. The tzadik
answered him, Do the same thing now, start by returning from your
negative actions and the process of t'shuvah, the repairing
that is required, will happen automatically.
"Call to Him when He is near." Similarly, during these
days, G-d is present in each and every Jew in a way of closeness.
Everything that a person receives is given from on high with only
the most positive divine countenance. This too could be an advantage,
but the verse is teaching us that to be truly complete, here too we
have to make an effort. What is the appropriate effort required? Even
though He is close, we have to call to Him. G-d will come close to
us even without our making an effort, but we only become complete
when a person adds to this closeness through his own efforts. Though
our calling to Him, we succeed at bringing Him from concealment to
revelation. How? By calling to Him truthfully, without any compromise.
Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, the Holy Ari, the great kabbalist of Safed
would cry on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It is said in his name that
a person who does not cry on these days, it is an indication that
his soul is not complete.
(Adapted from a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, 5714)
The Holy Temple in Jerusalem all year round had regular Cohanim bringing
the offerings, as well as the High Priest. On Yom Kippur only the
High Priest served. In Judaism everything physical has a spiritual
counterpart. When the temple was destroyed, only the physical temple
of stone and wood was destroyed, but the spiritual temple was given
over to the soul of the individual Jew.
Just as the cycle of the year passes for the physical temple, so
it is for the spiritual temple. So, when Yom Kippur arrives and only
the High priest serves, who is that High Priest in the holy temple
of our soul? We are! Yom Kippur is the day when we must serve alone.
We can not rely on our rabbis, or our teachers, our friends or our
family. We can rely only on ourselves to find that right place for
us to connect to G-d Almighty. And, just as it was in the Holy of
Holies, where just a few words of the High Priest would draw down
divine blessings for a good and sweet year for the High Priest himself,
his family, the Jewish people and the entire world, so also, we have
to know that it is not about quantity, but rather about quality. A
few words, in the right way, from the right place, will bring the
G'mar Chatima Tova, Shaul
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For last year's essay by Rabbi Leiter on this
week's Reading, see the archive.