The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: Tishrei 5, 5768/September 17, 2007

Yom Kippur: The Right Time, The Right Place

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which falls on this coming Shabbat, (September 22), is the ultimate expression of that thing the Torah calls "day." The Torah understands day, not as a measure of time, but as a measure of spiritual potential. And no day is more fraught with spiritual potential than Yom Kippur. We are taught by our sages that teshuvah - repentance - predates creation. In other words, repentance is a prerequisite for creation. Without repentance mankind would quickly grind to a halt. To sin is to cut oneself off from G-d, that is, to deny His presence in the world. Were we to live in a world without repentance we would soon find ourselves in a self imposed exile from G-d's presence. Repentance grants us the ability to eradicate our sins, and return to G-d in purity. Yom Kippur is the day in which the potential for repentance is greater that on all other days, for on Yom Kippur, G-d's ear, as it were, is listening intently to our hearts, our thoughts, and the prayers as they roll from our tongues and ascend with our breath. Yom Kippur, the day which embodies that which was created before the beginning of days, is, indeed, the day of days.

As we prepare ourselves for Yom Kippur, to tap into its potential, to bathe in its purifying waters, and to become the person we are meant to be, it is the time also for reflecting on the service of the Cohen Gadol, the High Priest, in the Holy Temple, on this the Day of Atonement. For on this day, and only on this day, the Cohen Gadol, representing every man, woman and child of the nation of Israel, enters into the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant rests upon the foundation stone of creation. In this place, where our sages teach us is a place of no physical dimensions, for it is a place which transcends the physical, on this day of days, we can be made anew: clean and pure, refreshed and renewed.

It can be said that on Yom Kippur we are in the right place at the right time, where, by stepping outside of creation for the moment, we are granted the ability to recreate ourselves. Will we succeed? The test is in the moment after. Any change in ourselves can only be made real through the actions that we will be taking this new year that lays before us.

Can an entire generation also find itself standing in the right place at the right time? The fate of Jerusalem, the Holy Temple, and the redemption of all mankind hangs in the balance. In the upcoming days and weeks, that fate may be cast. We, too, will be judged for what we did, and didn't do, on behalf of G-d's chosen place. We can spare no effort in this struggle for our very souls and the souls of our children. There is no doubt that our efforts have already borne fruit, as evidenced by the new heights of double-talk and zigzagging by those politicians who wish to wrest the Holy Temple from G-d's domain, and offer it as tribute to the Islamofascists who preach day and night against G-d and His people. But our greatest task still lies before us, and we can scarcely afford to rest, until Jerusalem is secured once again.

Tune in to this week's Temple Talk, as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discuss the power of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, present developments concerning the Temple Mount, and what we can do about it.

Click to hear:

Part 1
Part 2