- [Yom Kippur] The “Sfat Emet” (1847–1905, Góra Kalwaria, Poland) says that on Yom Kippur, “…we must remember that in addition to sins like theft and so on, we must especially repair the sins of the heart. We must really love each other”. To return the value of something that was stolen is rather simple. But how can one change oneself and really love others?
- [Machzor of Yom Kippur] “Forgive the whole congregation of Israel, because everyone sinned unintentionally”. On Yom Kippur, we take responsibility for our actions, and want to correct our behavior. If so, why do we say to God at the beginning of the Yom Kippur service that we sinned unintentionally? Isn’t this a denial of our behavior, and avoiding responsibility?
- [Machzor of Yom Kippur] “…for the sin that we sinned in front of you out of confusion…” In the confessions of Yom Kippur, we ask forgiveness for sins we committed “out of confusion”. Are sins that were done out of confusion better or worse than sins that were done because we lost control of ourselves?
- Rabbi Nachman of Breslov tells us that if a person is introspective and judges himself or herself all year round, then there is no judgment from Heaven. If there is no judgment and no need for forgiveness, how should an introspective person relate to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur?
- On Yom Kippur, many people have a custom to learn the laws and procedures of the Yom Kippur service in the Temple in Jerusalem. The climax of this is the Kohen Gadol– the high priest–going into the Holy of Holies. The high priest was the only one who was allowed to go in once a year. How does learning these laws and procedures help a person achieve pardon and purity on Yom Kippur?
The future will show the remarkable power of tshuva. This revelation will be of much more interest to the world than all the amazing things that one usually sees in the vast areas of life and existence. This new revelation will attract and influence everyone. Then the world will really be renewed and sin will come to an end. The spirit of impurity will be purged away, and all evil will vanish like smoke.
–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Poland.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer