Home > Sermons > SERMON: Yom Kippur – Never? Again!

SERMON: Yom Kippur – Never? Again!

September 16, 2013

A week before Rosh Hashana I received a phone call from one of Maryland’s U.S. Senators. I am not going to tell you which one, but HE said he was calling to wish me a happy New Year. I told him that I thought that was so nice that in return I promised that he and his wife, Myrna, could come to services and not worry that I was going to give a political sermon. That was THEN. But a lot has happened since then involving Syria. It is something that, as a rabbi, I feel I have to talk about. But I’m not going to make it political … I’m going to try and make it religious. What position should we, as Jews, take in regard to a response to the Assad regime’s having gassed its own people? It just so happens that the answer to that goes to the very essence of why tonight and tomorrow are Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – the holiest day for the Jewish people.

The Torah tells us that on the tenth day of Tishrei, “you shall afflict your souls.” But why on the tenth day of Tishrei? Rosh Hashana is on the first of Tishrei because that’s the day of creation. Pesach is on the fifteenth of Nissan because that was the day of the exodus from Egypt. But why of all days was the tenth day of Tishrei chosen to be the Day of atonement? Answer our sages: a great moment in time took place on that day. It was on that day that the Torah tells us: “Vayomer Hashem salachti kidverecha –“And God said: I have forgiven as you asked.” It was on this day that God forgave the Jews for the sin of
the Golden Calf. READ MORE

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