Published Date: October 04, 2019
This week’s music: Vanachnu Korim
What is it that I am looking for? What is my goal that I have set for myself in this coming 6 days.
I need to be getting ready to go to the cleaners. I mean I really need “to come clean.” I’ve got to come clean so I can be fit to be cleansed. I want to access that place where I stand there and receive the highest spiritual cleaning of the year, if not my whole life.
I must prepare for Yom Kippur. Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev teaches that my job, our job, is to be willing to place myself in front of God. To accept that Hashem is waiting for us to come to Him as His children and give up all of our ego and self and enter into His safe protective field of love which He has created for us.
Therefore , my ultimate goal, as The Slonimer teaches, is to be able to connect. “L’hidavek” To cling to my Creator with awe and humility, and ultimately, with love.
The concept of “bitul,” then comes to mind. To arrive at a pure simple state of acknowledgment that in the face of God I am nothing, but to Him, I am everything. Perhaps I need to begin with an awareness that Hashem is always around. He is mamash everywhere. No hiding tactics can work here. They only throw me off from my goal of connecting.
There is a famous story involving a “chassid” of Reb Pincahs of Koretz, (1728-1790) student of The holy Ba’al Shemtov. He has a chassid that constantly sins and then always looks to the Rebbe to help guide him back to return to Hashem. “This time,” says the chassid, “I am so embarrassed of my sin, I can’t even bear to say what it was in front of The Rebbe. What does the Rebbe think I should do?” Reb Pichas thought for a moment and says, “Go pray “mincha,” the afternoon service.” “But Rebbe,” he protests, I have already said how embarrassed I am of what I did. How can I have the chutzpah to go stand in front of Hahsem after what I just did?” “And where do you think Hashem was when you committed that sin?” the Rebbe asked.
“Bitul.” So I need to be humble and serious. Hashem is everywhere, it is so awesome. How could I not want to humble myself to the One who created me and has his hand on the pulse the whole world?
It seems like a massive challenge and yet we are presented with the opportunity to display humility on so many occasions. For example, when I pray for someone what am I praying for. Can I understand that I am praying for someone simply hoping that my will for them is Hashem’s will for them? If that is what aspire to then my requests for your healing must be done with great intensity and humility. I must really want you to be healed.
Back to the uniqueness of this time of year. I have already spent 2 weeks admitting my sins, asking for forgiveness, trying to show the utmost respect. Now it is time to be counted in, as we are promised in the Torah, “Because on this day, He will forgive (all of ) you, to spiritually purify you, for all of your sins, you will be purified in the face of (before) Hashem ( Vayikra 16.30).”
So we learn and see that we are invited to envelope ourselves in the day of Yom Kippurim .As the Talmud teaches, “Mikveh Yisrael Hashem- Hashem is the Mivkeh of the Jewish people.” ( Yoma 85.2)
Yom Kippurim is a day of jumping in. The Slonimer Rebbe points out that it is one of the few mitzvot where we put our entire self in it. We totally live in the “Sukkah”; we fully enter into Shabbat. When having the blessing to live in Israel, our entire being, with no exception, is inside the holiness of “Eretz Yisrael”. Of course this is obviously true when we immerse in a “mikveh.”
Then there is one day a year that is like a giant “mikveh,” a giant spiritual bath. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev teaches us, all you need to do is to walk in. All you need to do is to allow that great day, to come into your life and let it’s incredible healing spiritual powers cleanse in the way that nothing else can. All we need to do is to step into Yom Kippur and let it do its fixing.
So the bottom line is that I want to be clean. What should I do? Can I identify the behavior that I consistently repeat while at the same time, I may lose sight of the possibility that is what I really need to fix. If that’s what I see, then I need to take a chance and attend to it right now. I need to focus on it and choose to fix it.
Let’s not forget our “yetzer hara,” evil inclination who is already whispering in my ear, “No you don’t have the strength to fix that.” No I can’t listen to that. I have heard the sound of the shofar. I have heard the voice of Hashem assuring me that He is ready and waiting for me to return.
Thus I need to know that if it is my desire to fix, if I want to connect, the way to get to Hashem is to show him that we want to have that connection actually happen. The Slonimer emphasizes that “davka” in this time of year when Hashem seems even closer to us than any time of the year, we need to believe that our “want” and desire is what he is waiting for.
May we all be blessed to jump in to the “mikveh” of Yom Kippur, step into Hashem’s holy wellsprings and be cleansed together with great spiritual purity.