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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

The day after Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai on Yom Kippur, his father-in-law Jethro encountered him attempting to singlehandedly judge the Jewish nation. This prompted him to offer advice:

You will surely wear yourself out…for the matter is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me [and] I will advise you…You shall select from the entire nation men of valor…and you shall appoint over [Israel] leaders over thousands, leaders over hundreds, leaders over fifties, and leaders over tens. They shall judge the nation at all times, and it shall be that any major matter they shall bring to you, and every minor matter they shall judge themselves. This will make it easier for you, and they shall bear [the burden] with you (Exodus 18:18–22. Rashi to ibid. 18:13).

Links: Jethro: Father-in-Law of Moses; Jethro’s Plan

The day after Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai on Yom Kippur, he gathered the nation of Israel and instructed them to construct a Mishkan so that G‑d’s presence would dwell among them. The Jews eagerly brought all of the necessary materials, exceeding what was needed for the task (Exodus ch. 35. Rashi to ibid. 35:1).

Link: What Was the Mishkan (Tabernacle)?

Laws and Customs

Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted.

It is customary to begin working on -- or at least planning -- the construction of the sukkah immediately after Yom Kippur. Indeed, The Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 30:7) describes the four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot as a time when the Jewish people are "preoccupied with mitzvot... this one is occupied with his sukkah, this one is occupied with his lulav..."

According to an old Chassidic tradition -- mentioned in the writings of the Baal Shem Tov -- the day after Yom Kippur is referred to as "G-d's Name." (The Baal Shem Tov explains that each of the various divine names describe G-d's involvement in a specific "world" or realm of reality, but the designation "G-d's Name" -- without reference to any particular name -- connotes a divine effluence that transcends all realms and particulars. On Yom Kippur, we access and reveal the very essence of our soul, which is one with the very essence of G-d; thus the day after Yom Kippur carries the designation "G-d's Name.")

Daily Thought

Yom Kippur is described in many ways. One very poignant description is that it is “once in a year.”

You see, the human soul is also described in many ways, with five different names, each describing a deeper level of her being. The fifth, deepest level is called yechidah, which means “one and unique.” Yechidah is the soul as she is fused and one with her Creator, so that the two are an inseparable whole.

Yom Kippur is the day that the essential bond of yechidah shines within the time and space in our world.

Meaning that once in a year, the One Above unites with the essential oneness of the soul here below within each one of us.

All else falls away.

Hitvaadiyot 5747, Vol. 1, pg. 113. Hitvaadiyot 5750, Vol. 1, pg. 101.