- Yehuda Pevzner
Yom Kippur is approaching. We all know how to behave on Yom Kippur; do not eat or drink, go to the synagogue, pray all day..
What is special about Yom Kippur? What happened on the tenth day of Tishrei is what caused this to be a holiday.
The first Yom Kippur in history was the day Moses went down with the second tablets after the sin of the golden calf and G-d told him "I have forgiven [the Jews]."
Gd then tells Moshe Rabbeinu to reach a cave called "Nekrat Tzur"
The word "Tzur" means a unique stone that looks ordinary but if you rub or hit it, a spark gets ignited and creates a fire.
In our world, there are two types of fire: there is an open fire and a hidden one. An open fire needs oxygen and substance to burn, otherwise it will be extinguished. In contrast, hidden fire does not have any requirements.
In the same way, for our open fire to be alit, we must involve ourselves with Torah and MItzvot. The hidden fire, however, has always existed - it is the deep and constant connection of a Jew with Hashem and is revealed on Yom Kippur. This fire is revealed within every Jew, no matter how observant he is. It’s not about an inventory of our transgressions and fulfillment of the commandments. It is a deep connection that causes every Jew to call out and connect with G-d.
This is one of the reasons why the Shofar is blown at the conclusion of Yom Kippur.
The blast does not announce the end of the fast. For that, a bang would be sufficient. Rather, it symbolizes the end of Galus and the beginning of the redemption - the connection of the hidden spark of every Jew with Hashem.
Candle lighting time / fast begins (NYC): Wednesday, 6:46 PM. Fast ends: Thursday, 7:43 PM.
Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast!