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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.


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