Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Lowering Ourselves to the Level of Angels to Rise to the Level of Human

I can do anything!

In the very first few moments of Yom Kippur we proudly announce with raised voice, "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchoso l'Olam va'Ed!" -- Blessed be the glory of His Kingdom for ever and ever!

This statement is usually said quietly, in an undertone, for only the angels dare make this proclamation aloud. But on Yom Kippur, we -- klal Yisrael -- achieve that lofty status and are also permitted to proclaim aloud the glory and eternity of the Kingdom of Heaven. And we achieve that from the very onset of Yom Kippur. All night and all day, we fast in order that our prayers should be uninterrupted with the needs of the physical body. We make ourselves as spiritual as possible and show ourselves and our bodies who is boss. HaShem is our King and we are His faithful servants. For more than 25 hours we dedicate ourselves to His service. In the last moments of this most holy of days we escort the Sh'china -- HaShem's Holy Presence -- up through the seven heavens. And then, after the final blast of the shofar for this season, we daven ma'ariv. The first ma'ariv after the Ten Days of T'shuvah that being with the Day of Judgement and culminate with our n'ila prayers.

We get to this sh'ma and then we silently to ourselves proclaim, "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchoso l'Olam va'Ed". What happened? We were there; and now we are... where? What happened to being at the level of angels?

In our literature angels are called "omdim" -- "standers". The don't move, they stand. They have no yeitzer harah, the serve HaKadosh Baruch Hu faithfully; today, yesterday, tomorrow -- always the same. We are not standers, we are movers. We took one day to stand. We spent that day taking a good, honest, *hard* look at ourselves. You can't do that when you are moving; you need to stand still for that. So on that one day, while standing, we were at the level of angels. Now it is after Yom Kippur, time to move. We didn't fall... we are poised to rise.

In case you think that is "just mussar"... take a look at this:
Best Video of the Year

A young man doing ordinary things; but extraordinary because he does it without eyes. We have not only eyes, we have Light. We have a Torah and we have guides. We can do anything.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Is Free Will Entangled?

Catchy title, no? If you were a physicist, you'd be deeply amused by my wittiness. If you are not, you can at least be amused at how witty I think I am being.

Here is the core issue: We humans are the unique beings in Creation who have unencumbered free will. That is, in fact, what the Torah means when it says that man was created in the image of his Creator. (I am oversimplifying a bit; but really just a bit.) The question is whether we can each make our own decisions independently, or do they need to mesh together?
I should note at this point that free will is not anarchy; if I decide to jump up, I am going to follow a relatively ballistic trajectory until I land. I can't decide at the apex of my trajectory to change directions or just hover; my trajectory is a consequence of -- and therefore an integral part of -- my initial decision. The most dramatic way to phrase this question is: If Bob murders George, has Bob's free will choice of murder just interfered with George…

Thought for the Day: Shabbos in a Hospital -- Considerations

Let's take a completely hypothetical scenario: It is Friday afternoon and you've been at the hospital since Monday. The plan from the beginning was to be discharged on Friday. You are at a hospital that is 30 minutes from home (non-rush hour), so you haven't been home the entire week. You have been "bathing" in the rest room by the elevators (you are only the care giver, after all; not the patient, so you don't want to use the shower in the patient room) using the thinnest paper towels known to mankind. They've been telling you all day that the patient is ready to be discharged; all tests and procedures completed/successful/passed. Only waiting for the PA (physician assistant) to finish the paperwork, but he is stuck in surgery. Sundown is at 7:50 PM, you should have been out by 2:00 PM; it is now 3:00... 4:00... 5:00 PM. No worries; sure, it's now rush hour so the commute home is closer to 45 minutes or an hour, sure you haven't bathed properly n…

Thought for the Day: Transgress and Live -OR- Stand Firm and Die

Here's the joke: Moshe was called to pay a visit to the local (non-Jewish) mayor, and old friend who was now a powerful(ish) politician. When Moshe got there, the mayor was eating and asked Moshe if he would care to join him. "I must decline, Mr. Mayor, as the food is not kosher," said Moshe. After eating, the mayor poured himself some wine, again offering the same to Moshe. "I must decline again, Mr. Mayor, as the wine is not kosher," replied Moshe. "My goodness!", said the mayor, "So many rules! What if that is the only thing to eat and you are starving?!" "Ah," said Moshe, "if our like is at risk, then we are allowed -- even required -- to eat whatever will save our life." The mayor suddenly pulled a revolver from under the table and ordered Moshe, "Drink a glass of wine or I shall shoot you dead!" Moshe quickly quaffed a glass of wine. "Another!", roared the glaring mayor. Moshe complied with all h…