Parshat Vayelech

Shabbat Shuvah

Yom Kippur

(Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30)

(Hoshea 14:2-10, Michah 7:18-20, Yoel 2:15-27)

  1. [Yom Kippur] Yom Kippur is a day of introspection and forgiveness. Doesn’t our fasting, however, make us think of food and drink, when we should be thinking about more elevated things? Why do we not eat or drink on Yom Kippur?

  2. The Rambam tells us that the shofar is a call to tshuvah—a call to wake up from our spiritual sleep and improve ourselves. The 10 days of tshuvah and Yom Kippur are days of tshuvah and days to improve ourselves. If so, why do we not blow the shofar on the 10 days of tshuvah or on Yom Kippur?

  3. Before the Musaph service of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the chazzan (the prayer leader) sings a very personal prayer to God about his role as the prayer leader. A very short and very personal part of this prayer is said silently, but most of the prayer is sung loudly in front of the whole congregation. What is the purpose of singing this extremely personal prayer in public?

  4. Toward the end of the Musaph service on Yom Kippur, we read about rabbis who were spiritual giants and were killed by the Romans because of their attachment to Torah. Why do we read this on Yom Kippur?

  5. On Yom Kippur, during the mincha service, we read the book of Yonah. This book tells about how the prophet Yonah is sent by God to Nineveh to prophesy to the people and tell them to repent of their sins. Nineveh is a non-Jewish city. Why is Yonah sent by God to a non-Jewish city and why is this story supposed to be a motivation for Jews to make tshuvah?


On Yom Kippur, if one regrets a sin and makes tshuvah, then the sin is negated. But if, at the time of tshuvah, one becomes more introspective and thinks about the reason that the sin was done, then there is a repair in the sin itself. The sin is not only cancelled, but the flaw in one’s character that caused the sin begins to be repaired.

–R. Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter (18471905), Góra Kalwaria, Poland—the Sfat Emet




This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer


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