Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Yom Kippur and the Akeida

There is an old joke.  On Yom Kippur, the chazan throws himself down before the aron hakodesh and cries out, "I am nothing!".  The rabbi, not to be outdone, follows suit.  The shamash, figuring if the chazan and the rabbi both did it, he should also.  The chazan looks over a the rabbi, points to the shamash and snickers, "Look who thinks he is nothing!".  That's how the malachim look at us all year, so we don't say "baruch sheim kavod malchuso l'olam va'ed" (B"ShKMLV) out loud.  Except on Yom Kippur; then we do say it out loud and the malachim are, apparently, silent.  Everyone knows that, and it is brought by the Mishna Brura in 61:13.

But the Mishna Brura brings another reason that we don't say B"ShKMLV out loud during the year: because even though Yaakov said it, Moshe didn't write it.  So we compromise by saying it quietly.  There are at least two problems with this explanation.  One: Who was talking about Yaakov Avinu?  Two: It's the same Torah all year around and B"ShKMLV still isn't written there.  So how do we get to say it out loud?

The Dirshu edition of the Mishna Brura brings the Magein Avraham to say that we have to look at the reason that Moshe didn't write  B"ShKMLV.  Namely, because the malachim don't recognize our greatness, so we say it quietly.  In fact, in private we are allowed to say B"ShKMLV out loud; it is only in a congregational setting when the sh'china is present that the malachim have a k'peida.  Once a year, however, we remind the malachim that they admitted to the greatness of klal yisrael: at the Akeida (see TftD: The Akeida as the Turning Point).  That offers a whole new insight into the depth behind Chazal's establishment of reading the parsha of the Akeida on Yom Kippur.  It is not that the Akeida happened on Yom Kippur, but that we only have a Yom Kippur because of the Akeida, when even the malachim admit to the greatness of HaShem's nation.  Note, by they way, that even though we don't say B"ShKMLV out loud during the year, it isn't because we aren't greater than malachim, it is only that they don't recognize it.  But we should.

I said there were (at least) two questions.  Sorry, only one thought per day.  Come back tomorrow.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…