The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: Elul 25, 5766/September 18, 2006

The Tishrei Special

On Yom Kippur we ask G-d to forgive us for the sins we have committed over the past year. Yet how do we know that G-d has, in fact, forgiven us? The days leading up to Yom Kippur are likewise the time for asking forgiveness from our fellow man. This can often prove more difficult than asking forgiveness from G-d Himself. In fact, the more important the individual we are asking forgiveness from is to us, the greater our trepidation.

By the same token, it is also incumbent upon us to forgive those who request our forgiveness. A casual acquaintance who beseeches our forgiveness will most likely merit a gracious, if perfunctory, "you are forgiven." or, "think nothing of it." The same encounter between people who share a deep love for one another will naturally elicit a much more emotion-laden response. A tearful, "You are forgiven," and a heartfelt embrace may best express the depth of the forgiveness.

Four days after we stand before G-d on Yom Kippur, confess our sins, and beg Him for forgiveness, we fulfill the mitzva of sitting in the sukkah. This impermanent and precarious structure is symbolic of the impermanent and precarious nature of this world. We sit within the sukkah as a profound faith in G-d's benevolence. But on an even more rarified level, the sukkah itself is G-d's loving embrace, surrounding and encompassing us. In other words, it is the answer to the question posed above. Has G-d forgiven us? Of course He has, and the heartfelt embrace of the sukkah is the manifestation of His deep love for us.

Join Rabbi Chaim Richman & Yitzchak Reuven on TEMPLE TALK as they discuss Rosh Hashana, the ten days of repentance, Yom Kippur and the festival of Sukkot!

Click to hear:

Part 1
Part 2