Our Yom Kippur vort is being sponsored by Yossie and Elisheva Schulman of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated L’zecher Nishmas, Elisheva’s aunt, Rivka Necha bas Zmira. To Yossie, Elisheva and the Schulman family, may you all be inscribed and sealed for only simcha, success, good health, nachas from your children, and only good things in the year to come and to at least 120 years. Many thanks for your sponsorship and your continued multitudes of kindnesses.
Friends, you can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
During the Shaliach Tzibbor’s repetition of the Mussaf Tefillah of Yom Kippur, after Aleinu, next in the order of tefillah is recitation of the day’s Avodah by the Kohen Godol — The Order of Service in the Beit HaMikdash.
Following the recitation of the Order of Service, provided that the Kohen Godol’s service was performed perfectly, he would emerge from the Holy of Holies – the Kadosh Kedoshim unharmed and make a celebration.
The Shaliach Tzibbor’s repetition in the Artscroll Ashkenaz Yom Kippur Machzor follows the emergence of the Kohen Godol with a tefillah (page 571) :
“The [Kohen Godol] would make a holiday for all his loved ones when he entered [the Kadosh Kedoshim] in peace and left in peace, without injury. And… the Kohen Godol [recites a] prayer on the Day of Atonement when he left the Kadosh Kedoshim in peace, without injury.”
A note in the Artscroll Machsor (ibid, page 570) states:
…The Kohen Godol who emerged unharmed from the Holy of Holies [Kadosh Kedoshim] had ample reason to celebrate. Indeed, Rabban Gamliel taught that Yom Kippur was one of the most festive days of the year. (The Yom Kippur Machsor cites Taanit 4:8)
A great song, an alphabetic piyut by an unidentified author, is sung expressing awe at the appearance of the Kohen Godol as he emerged [intact] from the Kadosh Kedoshim.
The Artscroll Machsor notes that the song compares the Kohen Godol to the author’s perception of various spiritual and material phenomena. (ibid, page 571-573) :
Following the piyut, the Kehillah recites a posuk indicating that all of the above occurred when we had the Beit HaMikdash, the Kadosh Kedoshim and when the Kohen Godol performed his Avodah, as “his generation watched and rejoiced.” (ibid, page 573) “How fortunate was the eye that saw” these phenomena.
Last year’s vort dealt with the preparation of the Kohen Godol for his service on Yom Kippur. And a few years ago, this author addressed the contrast noted in the title above. This year’s vort also deals with the contrast [verb, to compare in order to show unlikeness or differences; note the opposite natures, purposes, etc., of], but in a different direction: “How fortunate was the eye that saw” the Majesty of the Kohen Gadol emerging following his service, and then, in a second author-unknown piyut — “because our forefathers’ iniquities destroyed the Beit Hamikdash” — “for the ear to hear of it distresses our soul.” (ibid, page 573)
In his sefer “Shem Mishmuel,” The Sochaczever Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, z”l renders to English Sefer Devarim, Perek 32, posuk 7 and provides a view on this contrast in a Yom Kippur vort (pages 434-435) :
“Remember the days of old; consider the years of each generation…”
It is always easier to detect change through a comparison of opposites. For example, if there had never been light in the world, it would be impossible to describe the disadvantages of darkness. The comparison of the two means that we may appreciate the qualities of each. Likewise, comparison is the best tool to appreciate the relative qualities of the generations. …The spiritual qualities of the Jews have declined throughout history. Without considering the great strengths of the earlier generations, we would have no means with which to appreciate our own deficiencies. We must, in order to form a correct life perspective, realize that our forebearers were spiritual giants, and we are pygmies in comparison.
This is emphasized by the following Chazal:
Rabbi Zeira said in the name of Rabbah bar Zimuna, “If the first generations were angels, then we are people, but if the first generations were people, then we are like donkeys. And not like the donkey of Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa or the donkey of Rabbi Pinchas ben Ya’ir [who were exceptional animals whose stories are reported elsewhere by Chazal], but ordinary donkeys.”
As the spiritual standing of Klal Yisrael has declined, there have been people in each generation who have been holier than those who followed them.
We may question the value of this comparison to the earlier generations. What purpose does it serve? In fact, it is very valuable, for it ensures that we remember that we are not perfect. It is very easy to assume that we are living life to its fullest and are great Tzaddikim. The comparison to those who lived in earlier times will shatter our illusions.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, as well as the buildings of Yishuv Elchanan, all at total government expense; due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is in his third year at home in Eretz Yisrael and has embarked on a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nine years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we see, in 5784, the REAL Jews from the Ukraine and Russia make Aliyah enmass — via thorough review by Misrad HaPanim. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese Wuhan Lab corona virus pandemic and all like viruses and variants. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
May You, All of My Brothers and Sisters, be Inscribed and Sealed for another Year of Life… Now and always! And may our hopes and prayers, are realized. L’Shana Tova!
As a Rav back in the Old Country would say, “Tefillah Kasher V’Tzom Kal — Daven Hard, Fast Easy!”
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.