Posted on Sep 18, 2018 | 0 comments

remember, this is from Orthodoxy….allow the Ruach haKodesh to sift through the words, and speak to your heart…

Tishrei 9, Erev Yom Kippur

TO BE LIKE ANGELS

Tonight we will begin a 25-hour fast of Yom Kippur.  We don’t do this in order to afflict ourselves, which is the purpose of the fast of Tisha B’Av when we mourn the destruction of the Temple—indeed Yom Kippur is not a day of mourning but a day of joy. We fast on Yom Kippur because on this day we want to transcend our physical limitations and be like angels, and food and other physical concerns distract us from our spiritual selves.

Some people may complain that the hunger distracts them from concentrating on the prayers and rituals of the day.  But this is precisely the Yom Kippur challenge—not to be overly focused on the physical.

Use the opportunity of not eating and not drinking to allow yourself to experience the food and drink that comes from deep within. Fasting will then become a very freeing experience.

Yom Kippur is one day in the year when you can access the deepest part of your soul. But this is only possible if you create the space for it. Your soul—every soul—has a still, soft voice that emits a unique hum. This sound can only be heard if you lower the noise in your life that usually drowns out your inner voice.

On Yom Kippur, when the “source” is nearest to the “spark” of your soul, you want to remove as many material distractions as you can, so that your soul can sing freely and your “spark” can dance.

When you experience Yom Kippur this way—which does take effort, and that’s why you need to prepare for it—then it will be for you not a day when you feel hungry, but a day when you feel angelic.

The same holds true for the other prohibitions of Yom Kippur—against bathing, anointing, marital relations, wearing leather, etc.—all of which are meant to detach us as much as possible from the physical realm so that we can be free to experienced the spiritual one.

Instead of indulging in physical pleasures, we spend the day in the cocoon of a synagogue where we are cut off from the outside world. We spend the day in prayer—our whole intention being to transcend the physical world, our material home, and to travel inward toward our purest spiritual selves—toward our true home in G-d.

BREAKING THE TIES THAT BIND

Before darkness falls, marking the official beginning of the 10th day of Tishrei which is Yom Kippur, in every synagogue in the world a haunting melody is sang—Kol Nidrei.

Kol Nidrei means “All Vows” and its classic text, repeated three times, each time louder, is a renunciation of all oaths and vows.

It seems strange to begin the holiest day of the yea—the day which we spend asking G-d to forgive us for all transgressions—by breaking former promises.

But Kol Nidrei is not that. Kol Nidrei is the process through which we enter the holiest day of the year.

A neder is not just the vow/promise that you vocalize to another person, it is a word that denotes all commitments, attachments, and ties that bind you.

By renouncing “all vows” you are declaring your commitment to break the bonds that keep you from traveling on the journey within, that keep you from opening yourself to the Yom Kippur experience.

Obviously, this does not mean forsaking healthy commitments and responsibilities—it means forsaking those attachments that limit you, that entangle and entrap you.

That is the essential focus of Kol Nidrei. It is a perfect prayer to begin Yom Kippur with because unless you free yourself from such traps you cannot travel inward; with a ball and chain attached to you, you are not going to be able to get anywhere.

Kol Nidrei is repeated three times to relate to vows in speech, vows in deed, and vows in thought:

All vows and things we have made forbidden on ourselves… we regret having made them, may they all be permitted, forgiven, eradicated, and nullified, and may they not be valid or exist any longer.  Our vows shall no longer be vows, and our prohibitions shall no longer be prohibited, and our oaths are no longer oaths.

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