Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yom Kippur with the Rebbe, ztz"l

Below is another excerpt from Generation to Generation describing Yom Kippur with the Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Yisroel, ztz"l.

The day before Yom Kippur, at the morning meal, Father would sing the ‘portion of the Selichot (prayer for forgiveness) services for that day. The melody penetrated every crevice in one’s soul, and brought one to a profound state of atonement.

“How can I come before the Judge, without any merits in hand; and because of this, my heart is full of fear . . . To Your protective abode have come Your children whom You have exiled, and in Your house, they have gathered in fear and trembling." The tears poured forth profusely. "Remember for them the virtues of their ancestors as they stand in judgment before You . . .”

The Talmud states that it is a mitzvah to eat on the day before Yom Kippur. In fact, eating on that day is considered as though one would have fasted two consecutive days. The Talmud did not mean simply eating. It was referring to this morning meal when Father's rendition of the Selichot hymn dissected one’s soul and achieved an even greater intensity of teshuvah (repentance) than Yom Kippur itself would accomplish.

Following this, Yom Kippur was anti-climactic, until the concluding service of the day, Ne’ilah. The fast was almost over, and everyone felt that they had merited Divine forgiveness. Then Father chanted the prayer of the thirteen Divine attributes of mercy, the prayer vouchsafed by God to Moses with the promise that it will never be turned away.

It suddenly hit us. What if we have not repented sincerely? What if we have not merited forgiveness? What if we have allowed this precious day of forgiveness to slip by without achieving true teshuvah? And now we were in the very last few moments of this day. But all was not lost. There was still this one and final opportunity to avail ourselves of the Divine forgiveness of the day.

"I place my entire trust in these thirteen words and in the gates of tears which are never closed; and thusly I pour out my heart before the Searcher of all hearts . . ." Father's voice was now barely audible as it broke through his tears. "May it be Your will, He who hears the supplication of those who weep, that You preserve our tears with you, and spare us from all evil, for to You and only to You do we suspend our eyes in trust and hope. . ."

After N'eilah everyone felt that a heavy burden had been lifted from their hearts. Instantaneously, the mood changed from one of deep concern to exultation.

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