One year, in anticipation of the Yom Kippur prayers before Kol Nidre, the community was reciting Psalms in an agitated fashion. R. Pinhas of Koretz (a contemporary of the Baal Shem Tov) turned to them and said, all this carrying on and your words are going nowhere. You think that if you speak sheker (falsehoods) all year, suddenly your words will make an impact above? So I tell you this: Take upon yourselves that you will no longer speak falsehood and your prayers will immediately rise up…

As the “Day of Atonement” approaches I invite you to reflect on two of my previously posted essays, the first of which was updated yesterday with new material derived from a beautiful teaching by the Tiferet Shlomo on the experience of Yom Kippur as being “taken inside” the healing refuge of the Divine.

First, Yom Kippur: Time and Teshuva- A Place for Healing, which explores:

  1. The relationship between time and teshuva (repentance) and how we can change the past with actions from the present.
  2. The startling similarity between R. Kook and Nietzsche on the retroactive force of history and healing the past.
  3. How Yom Kippur can provide a safe place for self-healing as it places us “outside of time.”

Second, Book of Jonah Dvar: Delivered at Temple Beth Shalom, Las Vegas, Mincha of Yom Kippur 2011, speculates:

  1. How a traditionally somber day is actually one of the happiest.
  2. Why we read the Jonah story on Yom Kippur.


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