THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, September 20, 1985
Averting The Severe
Decree On Yom Kippur
BY DVORA WAYSMAN
FROM THE ENTIRE
STAFF OF . . .
5548 Drake Rd. • West Bloomfield • 661-0774
The Western Wall in Jerusalem, the last remnant of the holy
Jerusalem — When sunset a soul or a husk without a ker-
approaches in Jerusalem, on the nel.
The third element necessary
eve of the Day of Atonement, a
stillness overtakes the whole "to avert the severe decree" is
city. There are no traffic noises charity. It is such an important
— not even muted ones — for Jewish precept that a whole sec-
the whole House of Israel, ob- tion of the Shulhan Arukh (the
servant or not, refrains from de- Code of Jewish Law) is devoted
secrating this most holy day of to giving charity and all its
the Jewish calendar. The ramifications. We are told that
God has compassion on whoever
synagogues, just as all over the
has compassion on the poor; that
world, are filled as the plaintive,
haunting notes of Kol Nidre it is a religious obligation to
usher in Yom Kippur, the Day give as much charity as one can
afford; and that every person is
obliged to give charity, even a
The service in the synagogue
on this day revolves around the pauper who is himself supported
idea that on the first day of the by By
contrast, Jews are told al-
scribed, and on the Day of ways to try and avoid being the
recipient of charity and that it's
Atonement the decree is sealed, better to live a life of pain than
what will be our fate for the
to be supported by others.
coming year including who shall
codified eight de-
live and who shall die and by Maimonides
grees of charity, the lowest
what means; but, we are told:
being when the giver is glum
"Penitence, Prayer and Char- and resentful for being asked to
give. The highest degree of char-
ity avert the severe decree."
Penitence, simply means say- ity is when-one gives a loan or a
ing one is sorry and repenting, job so that the poor person can
for Judaism does not believe adequately support himself.
that any human being is free Judaism totally endorses social
from sin or infallible. We have measures aimed at the abolition
no institution like the Papacy of poverty and helping others to
... even the most outstanding lead productive lives of happi-
rabbis enjoy only the authority ness and dignity.
Perhaps the reason why Jews
of the Torah they interpret and
can be subject to error. We all who observe almost nothing else
do wrong because we are hu- still flock to synagogues on the
man. Penitence begins with re- Day of Atonement can best be
pairing any injury one may illustrated by Rabbi Nahman of
have done to a fellow man in Bratslav's parable of the
full. Only then can we expect shepherd and the sheep. The
forgiveness from our Creator. shepherd plays his flute while
Prayer, the second component his sheep graze and seek water.
of atonement, has its own laws. As long as music
Jew a is day
and in to a pray
as long as the shepherd can
way, not just when the 'spirit hear his sheep baa-ing, he can
moves him, although spontane- help them if they get into trou-
ous prayer is also encouraged. ble. But when the sheep stray so
There are different kinds of far that the shepherd cannot
prayer, but the most frequent is hear their call for help, then
a petition to grant a particular they When
lost. descends on
request. Such prayers are not
always answered in the way the Jerusalem, as the long day of
petitioner hopes, especially praying and fasting draws to a
when one's attention is focused close, it reaches its final cres-
just on one's own needs and de- cendo with a blast of the shofar,
sires. The chief value of prayer the ram's horn. Saadia Gaon
is when the mind of the wor- cited ten reasons why we
shipper is on the act of praying, the shofar, the most important
not the request to be granted. one being for the Ingathering of
The Hebrew word for prayer is the Exiles — calling Jews to re-
turn to their Land, Eretz Israel:
tefillah from t he root palal
to pass in .
"And it shall come ho
meaning to judge or intercede.
An important element
in Jewish be that
prayer is kavannah
tion) and it is said that prayer that were lost in the land As-
without this inward direction of syria." (Isaiah 27:13).
the mind is like a body without ' World Zionist Press Service
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