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About Congregation Keter Torah : About our Rabbi & Staff : From our Rabbi
From our Rabbi, Tishre 5771 / September 2010
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I have often been moved by the moments after Yom Hakippurim. As opposed to running home to eat, many people remain for just a bit longer to say Kiddush Levana in the requisite state of Simcha that is demanded for this ritual. In fact, using the recently acquired positive religious energy is codified in our system of law. The Shulchan Aruch (Hilchot Sukkah 625:1) codifies the practice of putting up the Sukkah immediately after the conclusion of Yom Hakippurim. While the Maharil (Hilchot Sukkot) sees this as an attempt to avoid sinful behavior so soon after a holy day, he also acknowledges that it is an attempt to go “from strength to strength.” The latter, more positive approach is the focus of the Aruch Hashulchan (Hilchot Yom Hakippurim 624), who sees the fervor and joyful liveliness of the Yamim Noraim period as a direct link to Sukkot. The practice of waking up a few minutes earlier for davening on the day after Yom Hakippurim (see Elyah Rabba 624) may also be a manifestation of this attitude and approach.

The benefits and responsibilities of a spirited “high” are not restricted to the Bein Adam Lamakom realm. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, in his fundamental insights on the Akeida, greatly admires Avraham Avinu for his ability to reconnect with those who did not ascend the mountain with him and Yitzchak. Rabbi Hirsch noted that often those who achieve lofty heights can no longer relate to those who haven’t “soared in the proximity of Hashem.” In fact, he sees this as a danger and distortion of the ideal religious mode. One who has had a meaningful Yamim Noraim season should feel enthusiasm toward positive interactions with others. The Rabbi Soloveitchik machzor records that Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein once related that, if you ever wanted a favor from the Rav, you should ask him after Ne’ilah, because he would be in such a good mood (Ish Yom Hakippurim). The Sefer Mateh Ephraim (Siman 400) prescribes that the person who leads services at Maariv of Motzei Yom Hakippurim should be careful not to speed through the davening but to also be sensitive to those who are weak from the fast, showing the ability to use one’s religious “high” in a balanced manner. In fact, the Sefer Mateh Ephraim (Siman 624) teaches that right after reciting Kiddush Levana on Motzei Yom Hakippurim, we should greet our friends and offer them wishes for a great year. The pious, devoted Jew uses his/her accomplishments to climb higher in sanctity and to relate even more to the greater community.

Best wishes to you and yours for a great year of health, happiness & strengthening of all relationships.

Shalom Baum

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From our Rabbi
From our Rabbi, Tishre 5771 / September 2010
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