Thursday, September 28, 2017


Yom haKippurim

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Yom haKippurim


      The day of atonement. The day our judgement for the New Year will be sealed. We come before the Judge seeking forgiveness and a favorable decree. We stand before the King of Kings dressed in white as if we were angels, free from sin. How will our judgement turn out? What kind of year will we have? A momentous day of immense importance.

     Why then can we read "Yom haKippurim" as "The day that is like Purim"? Purim is the day of immense joy, the joy of having been saved from our enemies. What does the Day of Atonement have to do with Purim?

     There is a Baal Shem story that answers this question best. One Yom Kippur the Baal Shem was away from home spending the holiday in a small village. He saw that one of the simple, unlearned Jews kept smiling and even laughing out loud during the evening service. The Baal Shem held back and didn't say anything.   

     But then in the morning the same thing happened. The simple Jew kept smiling and laughing, mostly to himself, but still it was noticeable.

     Noon prayers went the same. Finally, the Baal Shem could not hold back any longer. At the closing prayers, the Baal Shem approached the simple Jew and said, "This is a very serious day today. Our judgements are being finalized today. We stand before the Judge and you are laughing the entire time. Don't you realize how serious a day this is? Why are you laughing like this?"

     The simple Jew looked at the Baal Shem totally surprised at his question.

     "Of course I am happy on this wonderful day. All of my sins are being forgiven. Thank G-d, the kindest Judge there could ever be is forgiving me today."

    The Baal Shem smiled and said, "You are right."

    Yes, this day is the most serious day of all. Yes, we are being judged, perhaps even for our very lives. But if we sincerely say that we are sorry for what we did wrong, and we honestly promise not to do those horrible things again, then all of our sins will be forgiven. What a wonderful day! It's like Purim.  

Turning to G-d



  1. But if and when horrible occurrences follow soon after Yom Kippur ends, individually and collectively, we can only wonder if all our sins were forgiven.

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  3. Perhaps that is why we sing so beautifully while confessing the worst sins, which is so incongruous.

    Plus we know the Judge!

    It is not only our King; But also our Father.

    Indeed it is our innermost Self, our own pure soul that HaShem breathed into us, a Chelek eloka mimal mamesh.


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