web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Death, Life And Hope

        It is Sunday, the day after Yom Kippur and everyone you speak to says, “Thank G-d it’s over.” Just days earlier, the collective mood was comparable to what people feel when faced with a root canal – resignation over something unavoidable that you can’t wait to get over with. Very few would view Yom Kippur as a Yom Tov – a day of simcha.


 


         But it is. Even though it can be challenging physically, Yom Kippur is a priceless gift from Hashem, for it is the one day in the year that gives genuine hope to the desperate and the despairing.

 

         I myself didn’t understand the brachah of the Day of Atonement until I was well into my 20s. Like everyone else, I “endured” the day as a necessary component of being Jewish – something to get through while I daydreamed of the hot coffee and cookies I would drink and eat (guilt-free because I had fasted all day).

 

          But one day years ago, just a few days after Rosh Hashanah, my world came crashing down due to circumstances beyond my control, related to an “out-of-left-field” ruling by a secular court. Being young and unaware of how the legal system works, I had no idea if I would ever find relief from the nightmare that had enveloped me. I did not know when the matter would be resolved – if ever, and the ensuing minutes, hours and days were filled with heart-pounding anxiety, breath-robbing dread, and worse of all – bleak hopelessness.

 

         And then it was Erev Yom Kippur, and I went to shul and I started to daven, and for the first time in a week, I felt a warm calmness slowly ripple throughout my being, melting the cold, iciness that had gripped my heart. A seed of hope has been planted and by the next morning, as I continued to daven, it slowly sprouted and filled my soul with soothing optimism.

 

         For I had begun to realize that while the secular court was unapproachable – (you just can’t walk in and ask to see the judge) there was a way to right the wrong that had destroyed my tranquility and regain my peace of mind that had been so unexpectedly shattered.


 


         For on Yom Kippur, we are all given the gift of appeal and what had devastated my world could be overturned. For me, and others involved in legal proceedings, it didn’t matter what an earthly court had decreed. In my mother’s case, and that of all other cholim, it was irrelevant what the medical doctor had stated; for the infertile couples, the destitute, the stricken, and the lost – the opinions,” proclamations and declarations of the “experts” had no value. All “facts,” “realities” and “truths” are determined by the Creator of the Universe and the quantity – and quality – of our years, is set by the Heavenly Judge.

 

         Who will live and who will die – who will have his life cut short and who will live their full lifespan. Who will have tranquil lives and whose lives will be stressful and unsettled. All is in Hashem’s hands. And in His Infinite Mercy, He has given us an opportunity to “fix” what is “broken” in our lives.

 

        Ultimately, we may or may not get the relief we so desperately seek. Hashem in His Wisdom, that is beyond the ability of mere mortals to comprehend, does not always alleviate our tzorres – but that is notreally the point. What counts is that we are given a day that leaves us with hope.

 

         We are given a 25-hour period to reflect on our lives, become more aware of our flaws, frailties and shortcomings – and to improve ourselves. Self-awareness is a necessary first step to self-improvement. As we become more aware of our weaknesses – in both our physical and spiritual selves, we get a heightened sense of Hashem’s omnipotence – and His power to give us relief.

 

         We are like little children who, once they learn to walk, think there is no limit to what they can do for themselves – until they fall, and in pain, run to their Totty to “fix” their “boo-boo.” How reassuring for them to know there is a loving and powerful father to run to for help. Just the knowledge of his presence sustains them.

 

         And Yom Kippur sustains us. It is the day that stops us in our tracks and makes us remember that we have Someone to go when we are in pain. Someone who can rescue us from our mistakes – or the mistakes of others.

 

         In my case, the horrific situation that had caused me such anguish eventually was resolved and is gathering dust in a subterranean storage area deep in the recesses of my memory. However I have never forgotten the soothing sweetness of hope that suffused my sorry heart on that Day Of Appeal so long ago. For me, Yom Kippur will always be a Yom Tov - a day of goodness to be embraced and cherished and welcomed, all the days of my life.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Death, Life And Hope”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.
New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

Kupfer-071814

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/death-life-and-hope/2007/09/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: