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The Yom Kippur Paradox

Why is fasting more important than praying on Yom Kippur?

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The Yom Kippur Paradox: Why is fasting more important than praying on Yom Kippur?

The purpose of fasting on Yom Kippur is to induce a contrite and humbled heart before the Supreme Judge. If so, why if one falls weak fasting and cannot properly repent and pray, is he to nevertheless complete the fast, even if it entails sleeping through Neilah?! This class will reveal the essence of Yom Kippur, resolving this and other paradoxes of the holiest day of the year. (Based on Likutei Sichos volumes 3, 29 and 32.)
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Body & Soul, Yom Kippur

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Anonymous CA January 28, 2014

Chain around the foot of the High Priest before going into the Holy of Holies. Or a rope around his waist. I thought that was a myth. Reply

Rabbi Moishe New Hampstead January 1, 2014

Dear Yirmi,

Your comments are insightful and appreciated. Truth is, they deserve detailed responses which I hope you are able to receive one-on-one from a teacher of Chassidus. I will offer here some general remarks in the hope that you will pursue the matter further as described above.

With respect to davening: The teachings of Chassidus made this kind of prayer accessible to the average person by articulating mystical dogma in rational, intellectual terms.

Re the only reality: Whilst pre-Chassidus indeed taught that G-d is the Primary Cause and Realty and that all of existence is dependent on Him, Chassidus explains at length that G-d is the only Existence period, not withstanding the reality of creation. This 'contradiction' is profoundly addressed at length in Chassidus uniquely.

Pre-Chassidus, the ultimate statement on G-d was, as referred to in Kabbalistic literature, the 'Infinite One'.

This itself is beyond 'The Creator' or 'The Master of the World' or 'The Holy One, blessed be He', true, but Chassidus reveals and explains at length that G-d is beyond all of the above. Beyond infinite. Beyond 'beyond'. The ramifications of this revelation are profound and many-fold, including the revolutionary appreciation that the objective of life is not the earning of a place in the hereafter but in making this world a 'home' for G-d and that the very essence of G-d cannot be 'accessed' in even the most lofty levels of Heaven, but only in this world through the performance of a physical mitzvah.

Again, Yirmi, the above are general remarks and require elaboration. If you are unable to study with a teacher of Chassidus, do not hesitate to contact me directly. Please G-d, I will not be nearly as tardy in my responses as I was now.

All the best,
Rabbi New Reply

David September 12, 2013

"The Body is Nothing"? I was confused by the point of the body being nothing until it is infused with the soul. In the times of Moshiach won't the body feed the soul? Doesn't this make who you are all about the physical body, at least in the times of Moshiach? Reply

Yirmi Tyler Spring Valley September 12, 2013

Uniqueness of Chabad and Chassidus (Part 1 of 2) I am grateful for your bringing together and making understandable so many points about Chassidus and Chabad. What I believe I understood about several small points late in the talk leaves me with some additional questions (this needs to be in 2 parts because of the web page limitation):
- You describe that in Chabad of the earlier generations men typically stayed many hours after the official davening in prayer and transcendence. This was described as Chabad having brought a "new experience to the nature of prayer". Was this unique to Chabad? I seem to remember hearing similar stories about pre-Chassidus Jews, going back many hundreds of years. Was there not always "davening for many hours", "deep meditation", and being "completely detached from the world"?
- You said that "Chabad teaches that G-d is the only reality". I understand this to be standard Jewish understanding for over 3,000 years. "All of existence is insignificant" is, I believe, a Mussar teaching as well. "It's all about spirituality and transcendence" seems to me to be a general Jewish teaching, not necessarily even Chassidus.

- Before Chabad, you said, people described G-d as the "Creator", as if this was their complete identification of G-d. Chabad, on the other hand, says G-d is infinitely beyond the descriptor: "Creator". I have never heard any Jew of any stripe say anything different from G-d being beyond all possible descriptors. What is unique about Chabad teaching of this?

-You describe the unique teaching of Chabad as: the Reality of G-d and the insignificance of physicality. Is that not also a standard Jewish teaching?

Am I not understanding something correctly about these points in the presentation? Reply

Anonymous September 12, 2013

Now I understand Thank you so much. That was so well explained and why Chabad is doing the greatest work in this World today. Reply

This class analyzes an aspect of the weekly Torah portion or upcoming holiday. While providing a basic understanding of the subject matter, the lesson delves into its deeper and more complex dimensions with emphasis on the spiritual relevance to our daily lives. Inspiration for both the novice and advanced student.
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