"LIVING WITH MOSHIACH,"
Erev Yom Kippur, 5762
Tishrei 9, 5762 * September 26, 2001
Your Yom Kippur Guide
Dedicated to educating the public regarding the
current situation in Israel, based on Torah
sources, with special emphasis on the opinion
and teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
The Table of Contents contains links to the text. Click on an entry
in the Table of Contents and you will move to the information selected.
"I BELIEVE WITH COMPLETE FAITH IN THE ARRIVAL OF THE MOSHIACH.
"AND THOUGH HE MAY TARRY, I SHALL WAIT EACH DAY, ANTICIPATING HIS
Maimonides, Principles of the Faith, No. 12
THIS PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED
TO THE REBBE,
RABBI MENACHEM M. SCHNEERSON
Click here, to see pictures
of the Rebbe
The Daily Sicha (in Real Audio)
- Listen to selected excerpts of the Rebbe's Sichos
[talks] which are relevant to the particular day.
We are pleased to present, to the visually impaired and the blind, our weekly
publication, Living With Moshiach.
In this week's issue we focus on the laws of the upcoming High Holiday of
Yom Kippur, which begins on Wednesday evening, Sept. 26.
Therefore, we present here "Your Yom Kippur Guide,"* and other related material
about Yom Kippur.
We take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very sweet, happy, healthy
and successful new year.
Our sincere appreciation to
publication, published by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, for allowing
us to use their material.
Also, many thanks to our copy editor, Reb
his tireless efforts.
It is our fervent hope that our learning about Moshiach and the Redemption
will hasten the coming of Moshiach, NOW!
Rabbi Yosef Y. Shagalov,
Committee for the Blind
6 Tishrei, 5762
Brooklyn, New York
*. Published by Prestige Litho.
DEDICATED TO THE REBBE,
In Honor Of Our Daughter
on the occasion of her birthday, 25 Elul
Adapted from the Works of the Rebbe
There is a difference of opinion in the Talmud as to how atonement is achieved
on Yom Kippur. Most Sages maintain that Yom Kippur atones for a person's
sins only if he does teshuvah (repents). Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, however,
contends that repentance is unnecessary, and that the holiness of the day
itself effects atonement.
The issue is not whether the sanctity of Yom Kippur atones for sins or not;
about that, all are in agreement. According to both opinions, a person who
does not repent cannot attain the same level of atonement as one who does.
The controversy is only over how the atonement of Yom Kippur is effected.
According to Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi, the G-dly revelation of the "essence of
the day" automatically atones for transgressions. The other Sages maintain
that in order to reach the higher level of atonement of the "essence of the
day," a person must first do teshuvah. Having already repented, he
can then attain the loftier level that only Yom Kippur can bring about.
Atonement means that a person's misdeeds have been forgiven and he will not
be punished. However, the true meaning of atonement is that the person's
soul has been purified. When a person sins, his soul becomes defiled. Atonement
removes all traces of the sin's impression. When a Jew does teshuvah,
even his deliberate misdeeds are considered as merits.
A Jew's attachment to G-d exists on many levels. The first level is achieved
through mitzvot. When a Jew accepts the yoke of heaven, he forges
a connection with G-d.
Then there is the deeper level of connection that expresses itself in repentance.
If a Jew transgresses G-d's command, it weakens his relationship with G-d.
This disturbs him greatly and prompts him to repent.
The impetus for teshuvah emanates from this deep-seated level of
attachment. By doing teshuvah, all taint of sin is removed, and the
bond with G-d is strengthened. Yet even this level is limited in the absolute
The loftiest level is that of the intrinsic connection between the soul and
G-d's essence. Completely above all limitations, it transcends even the
expression of repentance. A bond of this nature cannot be created through
man's actions, nor can it be improved upon. It exists, purely and simply,
solely by virtue of the Jewish soul, a "veritable part of G-d above."
Because it is so essential, this highest degree of connection with G-d cannot
be weakened by anything, not even by sin. It is untouched by a Jew's repentance
or lack thereof. Thus, as regards the supreme level of our relationship with
G-d, the "essence of the day" of Yom Kippur achieves atonement.
The lower levels of our connection with G-d require that we actually repent,
removing all hindrances to our relationship. But on the highest level that
is completely untouched by sin, the atonement of Yom Kippur itself is sufficient.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch, issued a call that
"The time of our Redemption has arrived!" and "Moshiach is on his
The Rebbe stressed that he is saying this
prophecy, and asks us all to prepare ourselves for the Redemption,
through increasing acts of goodness and kindness.
Let us all heed the Rebbe's call.
The Eve of Yom Kippur
On the day preceding Yom Kippur, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the early morning
we do the Kapporos Service.(1)
Also, in the afternoon, we eat festive meals, to demonstrate our faith and
confidence in G-d's mercy.
Another beautiful custom for this day is that of parents blessing their children
with the priestly benediction: "May G-d bless you and guard you. May G-d
shine His countenance upon you and be gracious to you. May G-d turn His face
toward you, and grant you peace."
Yom Kippur atones for sins against G-d, but not for wrongdoings between man
and man. It is, therefore, important, on the day before Yom Kippur, to apologize
and seek forgiveness from friends, relatives, and acquaintances, to heal
any ill feelings that may have arisen.
1. Literally, kapporos means "atonement." Customarily on the eve of Yom Kippur,
a man or boy takes in hand a rooster, a woman or girl takes a hen, and passes
the fowl over the head three times while reciting a special prayer. The chicken
is then ritually slaughtered and often given to the poor to use for their
pre-Yom Kippur meal. The purpose of kapporos is to invoke sincere repentance
through the thought that a similar fate as that awaiting the fowl might be
due us for our sins, but through G-d's mercy and our true repentance it is
The Custom of "Lekach"
There is a custom on the eve of Yom Kippur to eat "lekach" -- honey
cake. The reason for this custom is that honey cake is a sweet dessert. By
eating it, we express our desire and hope that G-d will bless us with a sweet,
pleasant, good year.
There is also a custom to give (and receive) honey cake. The reason for this
is much less well known. When we receive honey cake from someone we do it
with this thought in mind: Let the honey cake be the only thing this year
that we have to take from someone else. Let us be self-sufficient,
self-supporting, even being able to help support and provide for others,
with G-d's help.
Thus, if there was any possible heavenly decree that the person would have
had to ask another for his food during this year, when one asks for
lekach the decree has been fulfilled and there will be no further
need to ask; all one's needs will be provided for by G-d.
On a deeper level, even the lekach is not really being received from
a person! In reality, all food comes from G-d, and therefore a poor person
who receives food from a person thanks G-d, Who "provides nourishment and
sustenance for all." This is because the person is only an intermediary for
delivering G-d's blessings.
However, both parties still feel that a transaction has taken place between
two human beings. The giving of lekach on the eve of Yom Kippur is
not like this, however. Since these are the days when G-d is "close," all
parties involved feel that G-d Himself is doing the giving, and the giver
is no more than a messenger. Even more so, the giver is not even seen as
a messenger, but just a link enabling G-d's gift to come to the person.
May we, this very Yom Kippur and even before, see with our own eyes that
G-d is truly the Giver and that He gives only good, with the complete revelation
of King Moshiach NOW!
Yom Kippur is from Wednesday evening, Sept. 26, through nightfall on Thursday,
In addition to the prohibition of work, as on the Sabbath, there are five
activities specifically prohibited on Yom Kippur: eating and drinking, anointing
oneself with perfumes or lotions, marital relations, washing (for pleasure),
and wearing leather shoes.
An Eternal Bond
Though these Days of Awe, as they are often called, are solemn, they are
not sad. In fact, Yom Kippur is, in a subtle way, one of the happiest days
of the year.
For on Yom Kippur we receive what is perhaps G-d's most sublime gift: His
forgiveness. When one person forgives another, it is because of a deep sense
of friendship and love that overrides the effect of whatever wrong was done.
Similarly, G-d's forgiveness is an expression of His eternal, unconditional
Though we may have transgressed His will, our essence, our soul, remains
G-dly and pure. Yom Kippur is the one day each year when G-d reveals most
clearly that our essence and His essence are one. Moreover, on the level
of the soul, the Jewish people are all truly equal and indivisible.
The more fully we demonstrate our essential unity by acting with love and
friendship amongst ourselves, the more fully G-d's love will be revealed
Jonah Swallowed by the
The Haftorah that is read on the afternoon of Yom Kippur tells the
story of how G-d commanded the prophet Jonah to go to the city of Ninveh
and warn the people there to repent, lest G-d destroy their city.
Jonah did not want to fulfill this mission and ran away on a ship. G-d caused
a terrible storm to occur and eventually the sailors threw Jonah off the
ship, as the only way to make the storm abate.
G-d caused a great fish to swallow up Jonah. Eventually Jonah was saved from
the fish and went to do G-d's bidding in Ninveh.
Why was this story chosen to be read on the holiest day of the year? And
why did Jonah "run away" from G-d rather than carry out his mission? To teach
us how much our love of our fellow Jew needs to be.
Jonah knew that if he went to Ninveh the people there would repent. He also
knew that the Jewish people had not repented in spite of all the chastising
the prophets had given them.
Rather than make the Jewish people appear bad in G-d's eyes, Jonah chose
to "run away." This lesson is so important that we read it every year on
A Day of Prayer
On Yom Kippur we are freed from all material concerns, and can devote the
day to prayer.
We begin the evening service with the chanting of "Kol Nidrei," which
absolves us of any vows we may make in the coming year.
During each main prayer throughout Yom Kippur, we recite the "Viduy"
(confession), enumerating all the sins we may have committed, and ask for
The final prayer of the day, as our judgment for the coming year is being
sealed, is called "Ne'ilah."
Ne'ilah is the only service of the entire year during which the doors
of the Ark remain open from beginning to end. This signifies that the gates
of prayer in heaven are wide open to us at this time.
Ne'ilah culminates with the "Shema Yisrael" and other verses
said in unison, and the final blowing of the shofar.
A Threefold Holiness
One of the most moving parts of the Yom Kippur service is the recounting
of the Service of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest.
On this, the holiest day of the year, the holiest man in the world would
enter the holiest place on earth -- the Kodesh HaKadoshim [Holy of
Holies] of the Temple in Jerusalem -- to pray on behalf of his people.
When he emerged from the Holy of Holies, the liturgy tells us, he was radiant,
"like the iridescence of the rainbow... like a rose in a garden of delight...
like the morning star sparkling on the horizon..."
Call your local synagogue, or Chabad-Lubavitch Center for the time of the
Yom Kippur services.
Jewish Women and Girls Light Yom
For local candle lighting times:
consult your local Rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Center, or call: (718) 774-3000.
For a free candle lighting kit:
contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center.
For a listing of the Centers in your area:
In the USA, call: 1-800-Lubavitch (1-800-582-2848).
Times shown are for Metro NY - NJ
Wednesday, Sept. 26, Erev Yom Kippur:
Kapporos service in the early morning.
Festive meal in the early afternoon.
Light the Yom Kippur Candles,(2) by 6:30 p.m. Say
blessings # 1 & 2.
Fast of Yom Kippur begins at 6:43 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 27, Yom Kippur:
Yizkor memorial prayers.
Yom Kippur ends at nightfall, after 7:28 p.m.
2. The Yom Kippur candles must be lit 18 minutes
before sunset. It is prohibited and is a desecration
of Yom Kippur to light the candles after sunset.
After lighting the candles, recite:
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu
Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Ha-ki-purim.
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has sanctified us with His commandments, and
commanded us to kindle the Yom Kippur light.
Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom
She-heche-yo-nu Ve-ki-ye-mo-nu Ve-higi-o-nu
Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe,
who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us
to reach this occasion.
IT HAPPENED ONCE
The day before Yom Kippur the air in the city of Lubavitch was already permeated
with the holiness of the day. Reb Shmuel, a respected scholar and
chasid, sat in a corner of the shul swaying in prayer when
the door swung open and a peddler entered the room. He threw himself down
on a bench and tossed his pack on the floor. Reb Shmuel inquired, "How are
"Oy," sighed the man. "The exile is dark and terrible. Just today
I was walking past the mansion of Squire Lobomirsky. Everyone knows his evil
reputation. Whenever I pass that place, I walk as fast as I can to get away
from it. Suddenly, someone cried out, 'Hey, Jew!' My blood ran cold. Thank
G-d, it was only the squire's servant, who wanted to buy a scarf from me.
He told me about a Jewish family imprisoned in the squire's dungeon. They
owe him rent, and if they don't pay by tomorrow, they'll all be killed. If
only I had that money...what a terrible and dark exile."
By the time the man had finished his tale, Reb Shmuel had left the
shul; soon he was knocking at the gates of the squire's mansion. "I
must speak with His Excellency," he said to the guard. He was allowed to
enter and he proceeded to the room where Lobomirsky sat. When the squire
saw the Jew, he was infuriated: "How dare you enter my house! What do you
"I want to know what is the debt of that poor, unfortunate family you have
The ruthless landowner's eyes lit up with the thought of lining his pockets
with the money. "Let me think about it," he smiled slyly and began to calculate:
"Well, there's the debt, then there's all the money I put out to feed the
whole brood, then there's the penalty payment; there's also the money required
to cancel their hanging -- it would have provided good entertainment." At
the end of his "calculations," Reb Shmuel was faced with an exorbitant sum.
"Somehow G-d will help me raise that sum," Shmuel replied to the smirking
It was getting late. Reb Shmuel went from door to door, telling everyone
about the plight of the imprisoned family, and although they were as generous
as possible, they themselves were poor. When he had finished his rounds,
Reb Shmuel had a pitifully small sum in his hands. "This will never do,"
he thought to himself. "I must do something else, and fast."
He was walking aimlessly, thinking of his next move, when he looked up and
found himself in front of a tavern. The sound of loud, drunken voices emerged
from within, and Shmuel was seized with the thought that just perhaps his
money was waiting for him inside, if only he could figure out how to get
it. As soon as he entered, he was sickened by the smell of liquor and stale
smoke. A group of card players looked up, surprised to see a chasidic Jew
in their midst. "What do you want, Jew?"
"I am here on a mission of mercy. The lives of an entire family hang in the
balance. I must raise a large sum of money." One of the players replied,
"Well, if you can down this beaker of vodka, I just might give you this money,"
and he pointed to a towering stack of gold coins. Reb Shmuel was never much
of a drinker, but what choice did he have? He downed the vodka, and true
to his word, the card player handed over the money. In quick succession,
the other players offered their winnings if he would drink two more huge
cups of vodka. Reb Shmuel's eyes were beginning to cross, but the glimmering
piles of coins steadied his resolve. An hour after he had entered the tavern,
he staggered out with his pockets bulging and stumbled in the direction of
the squire's mansion.
The squire couldn't believe his eyes, but he greedily accepted the gold and
released the grateful family who had barely escaped death.
Reb Shmuel could barely put one foot in front of the other; his eyes no longer
focused, but, he still remembered the holy day. He managed to get to the
shul, where he promptly collapsed in a heap. The worshippers were
dressed in their white robes, looking so much like the ministering angels.
They were startled to see Reb Shmuel snoring away, dressed in his weekday
clothes that showed evidence of his tavern experience. "What could have come
over him?" they wondered.
Reb Shmuel lay asleep throughout the evening of prayers that marked the beginning
of the holiest day. His snoring provided a constant accompaniment to the
heartfelt prayers rising from the congregation. The prayers ended, Psalms
were recited, and the shul emptied out. Reb Shmuel slept on.
At the first morning light, the worshippers returned to the shul for
the long day of prayers. Reb Shmuel was beginning to stir. They watched curiously
as he opened his bleary eyes and stood up. Walking straight to the
bimah, Reb Shmuel banged on the wood with his fist, and in a booming
voice, exclaimed: "Know that G-d, He is the L-rd; there is none other than
The congregation fell into confusion. What was Reb Shmuel doing reciting
the words of the Simchat Torah prayers?! Why, didn't he realize that
today was Yom Kippur? Suddenly the rabbi rose and turned toward the congregation:
"Leave Reb Shmuel alone. He has far outpaced us. With the great deed he has
done, his atonement is complete, and he is waiting for us at Simchat
...May the Festivals of Tishrei Bring
Blessings for You and All Your Loved
Ones, for a Good and Sweet Year,
Spiritually and Materially,
and Bring for All of Us
the Greatest of All Blessings,
the Final Redemption
Through Our Righteous Moshiach.