Friday, October 14, 2005

Reflections on Yom Kippur

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1. I turned on the computer tonight, to our home page There was a picture of Hillary Clinton addressing a Beverly Hills, California, congregation. What was she doing in a -- and I'm guessing here -- temple or a synagogue, probably not a shul or shteeble.

What was Hillary doing: headlining for the Israel Bonds drive? Appealing to congregants and annual visitors that if they plunk down their good hard-earned U.S. dollars, they will benefit the country of Israel?

To me, Yom Kippur is not Yom Kippur without a Bonds drive! I had a card sitting on my seat at shul. My eight-year-old daughter had a card on her seat. Thank G-d she didn't get ambitious and fold down the $25,000 tab or even the $1000 tab. Her (non-extistent) allowance won't pay for it!

2. I know that most people find the Kol Nidrei service very moving. After all, we are standing before G-d, repenting for our sins and appealing for another year of good and to be inscribed in the Book of Life. Yes, it is moving, as is every time I beat my chest as I list my sins.

Perhaps surprising to you is my love for the closing service of Yom Kippur -- the last-minute reminder of my requests, before the Gates of Heaven close to us, before the book is sealed. I wait for the blowing of the shofar, and not because it marks the end of my fast -- I fast well, thank G-d, and could probably carry on into the next day, if I only get to have a drink of water. That shofar marking the end of the fast is so powerful for me, such a rich sound that heralds the end of this solemn holy day, yet marks as a reminder that our requests have been heard and dealt with by G-d. When men are standing and davening an entire day for their salvation and the salvation of their congregants, and they still have the energy and mindset to blow this beautiful ram's horn is a wondrous is the sound that emits from the shofar...that last lingering note.

3. A friend kindly sent me this link. Please take a few moments to watch this film, especially that we've just had our own personal conversations with G-d in shul, in our prayers and in our thoughts.