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Purim And Yom Kippur: An Odd Couple?

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Our lives are spent careening between the two. We live in a world of fragile physical relationships, a world in which no moment of joy lights our lives without a memory of sadness. Personal happiness flickers against the backdrop of universal tragedy. While standing under the wedding chuppah, where so much joy, hope and love are anticipated, the groom’s head is covered with ashes symbolic of grief, destruction, and mourning. At the conclusion of the public wedding ceremony, the apotheosis of personal joy, the groom shatters a glass to signal our eternal mourning of the destruction of the Holy Temple.

Like the bride and groom, Purim and Kippurim stand under a single canopy. They are a union of smiles and tears, memories and hopes, anxieties and cheers, body and soul, tuxedo and kitel.They are the bride and groom who, after all, fast and recite al chet – performing their own, personal Yom Kippur in the midst of their personal Purim.

Joy and sorrow. Spirit and flesh. Man and Woman. Purim and Yom Kippurim. All are wedded under the chupah.

The Kotzker Rebbe, in speaking of his son-in-law, the Avnei Nezer, taught his students, “Do you know why the rav of Beila, the Avnei Nezer’s father, merited to have such a son? It happened on a Purim when all the scholarly and righteous Jews were so deeply involved and engrossed in the Purim seudah, that there wasn’t one Jew anywhere in the entire world learning Torah that hour, except the rav of Beila. This was taken note of in the Heavens, where it was pointed out that if not for him the entire world would have been void of Torah that hour. Therefore, he was rewarded with a son who would shine the world with his Torah holiness.”

A Purim devoid of Torah? A Yom Kippur devoid of joy? Heaven forbid! Purim k’Purim means recognizing Kippurim consequences on Purim and sensing Purim emotions on Kippurim.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.

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