From the Holy Ari of Safed
When one returns in Teshuva, he releases all the holiness that
he put into the forces of evil and returns them to holiness. This is
[true] repentance, that one restores a thing to its rightful place.
His reward [for doing so] is multiplied greatly because he subdues the
forces of evil and releases the holiness from within them. He [thus]
gives power to holiness when he brings it inside himself. With this
will we understand what our Sages have taught (Yoma 86b) that, "one's
sins are turned into one's merits."
(Sha'ar HaYihudim 3, 11, 40b - translated by Ariel Bar-Tzadok)
From the Chasidic Masters
When Yom Kippur Falls on Shabbat
"Moshe assembled the entire community of Israel and said to them,
"These are the words that G-d has commanded for you to do. You may
engage in work during the first six days f the week, but Saturday must
be kept holy as a Sabbath of Sabbaths to Hashem."" (Exodus 35:1-2)
"This shall be an eternal law for you. Every year on the 10th day
of the 7th month, you must fast and not do any work, whether it be the
native citizen or the proselyte. This is because on this day all of your
sins will be atoned for, so that you will be cleansed. Before Hashem,
you will be cleansed of all your sins. It is a Sabbath of Sabbaths to
you, and a day on which you must fast. It is an eternal law." (Lev.
We know that the Torah has a concept called Shabbos. From these two
verses, we can see that both the Shabbos and Yom Kippur are called Sabbath
of Sabbaths (Shabbos Shabboson), the ultimate expression of Sabbath. When
the two come together the stakes are bound to be high.
The Gemarra (Tractate Shabbos 118b), states, "If only Yisrael would
keep two (consecutive?) Sabbaths, they would be immediately redeemed."
The Noam Megadim (Parshas Emor), from R' Eliezer Ish
Horowitz, a disciple of R' Elimelech of Lizhensk, offers a compelling
interpretation of the passage in the Gemarra. He say that two Sabbaths
refer to two Sabbaths which comes together. That can only be when Yom
Kippur falls out on Shabbos. Therefore the possibility for immediate redemption
of our people is at hand. We only need to observe them, putting ourselves
into the service of the day with a full heart and keep from becoming distracted.
Actually the possibility for speedy redemption is inherent in every
Yom Kippur. The Holy Zohar (Parshas Noach) states that even if the people
in only one Beit Knesset (Shul) did complete Teshuva on Yom Kippur, then
all of Yisrael would be immediately redeemed!
All the more so then on this special year when the two ultimate Sabbaths
come together at the same time. Indeed a special opportunity!!
Eating and Fasting
". . .and you shall afflict your souls in the 9th day of the month
in the evening . . ." (Vayikra 23:32)
The Talmud, Tr. Brachos 8b, asks what does it mean to fast on the 9th
day? Don't we fast on Yom Kippur itself, on the 10th of the month? The
Talmud answers that if one eats and drinks on the 9th day of Tishrei,
the eve of the awesome day of Yom Kippur, and then fasts on Yom Kippur,
it is regarded as if he afflicted (fasted) himself on both the 9th and
the 10th days.
Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, the Noam Elimelech, asked
why eating on the 9th of Tishrei should be regarded as fasting? He answered
his own question saying, "If on the eve of Yom Kippur, one were to
contemplate the awesome and holy character of the approaching day, how
his repentance is hanging in the balance, he certainly would not be able
to put a bite of food in his mouth. Therefore, observing the mitzvah to
eat on the 9th day is indeed a hardship and an affliction."
(From B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Yom Kippur 5758)
From the Rebbes of Chabad
of the fundamental elements in the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur was
his entry into the Holy of Holies. It is written of this entry: "No man shall
be in the Tent of Meeting." The Jerusalem Talmud states that this applies
even to those about whom it is said, "The likeness of their face is like
the face of a man," i.e., the Holy Chayot, the highest level of angels.
When the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies, not even the angels may be present.
This implies that Yom Kippur involves the essential bond between G-d and the Jewish
people, as represented by the High Priest who serves as their agent; "Israel
is alone with G-d."
The High Priest also entered the Holy of Holies
in the era of the Second Temple as well, even when the Holy Ark was not there.
It is as if the High Priest entered into a bond with G-d that is above even the
level of engraved letters in the Torah.
There is a level of teshuvah mandated
by the Torah and a level of teshuvah above the Torah. The teshuvah mandated
by the Torah reflects dimensions of the soul and of G-d which are revealed. The
teshuvah which transcends the Torah, by contrast, points to how the soul
is bound up with G-d's essence, and is above all revelation.
In the era
of the Temples, the Jews' essential bond with G-d was revealed through the entry
of the High Priest into the Holy of Holies. Our Sages teach that our prayers take
the place of the sacrifices. As such, it is our prayers which today express this
Yom Kippur is the only day of the year on which we are obligated
to recite five different prayer services. These five services reflect the five
levels of the soul: nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah, and yechidah.
Neilah, the fifth prayer service, which is recited only on Yom Kippur,
thus reflects the level of yechidah, the aspect of the soul which is bound
to G-d with singular oneness. At this level, nothing besides G-d and the souls
of Israel is of concern.
This is the mystical meaning of the word neilah
- (that the gates are) locked: no one else is allowed in. The Jewish people are
alone with G-d!
This degree of connection is revealed in the Neilah
prayer. In a more general sense, however, it applies throughout the day of Yom
Kippur too, for Yom Kippur is "a day on which five prayer services are required."
Although each service has its time (the evening service, the morning service,
etc.), the entire day is "a day on which five prayer services are required,"
i.e., the fifth level, the level of yechidah shines throughout the day.
(Adapted from a talk and a discourse by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 5723)
Some Laws and Customs
THE FIVE ABSTENTIONS
feature of Yom Kippur is its designation in the Torah as both a 'Sabbath'
and a fast day. Fasting on Yom Kippur (from before sunset until after
dark the following night), which the Torah expresses with the term ‘affliction,’
is a broader concept than a mere abstention from food and drink. The Sages
(see Yoma 76a-77b) derive from Biblical exegesis that affliction implies abstention
from five activities: (a) eating and drinking; (b) washing one's
body; (c) anointing oneself with oils; (d) wearing leather shoes;
and (e) marital relations. In addition, all labors that are forbidden
on the Sabbath are forbidden on Yom Kippur as well. (from
"Out with the old year and its curses!
In with the new year and its blessings!"
Tova tikateiv v'tihateim
MAY YOU BE INSCRIBED AND SEALED
FOR A GOOD AND SWEET YEAR
HAPPINESS AND GROWTH!
The ASCENT staff
Last year's Yom Kippur page