Monday, October 10, 2011


What should we feel on the day after Yom Kippur? On Yom Kippur, we naturally feel spiritually awakened, but what happens the following day? Can we sustain the heightened awareness of Yom Kippur throughout the year?

Yom Kippur is a time when every Jew "comes close to G-d." That experience, however, must not be self-contained; it must be connected to the days and weeks that follow.

Spirituality is not an added dimension, separate from our everyday experience, but a medium through which to elevate our ordinary lives. By fusing our material and spiritual realities, we refine the world, infuse it with holiness, and transform it into a dwelling for G-d's Presence.

Yom Kippur should not be viewed as an isolated experience, but as a means to enhance our relationship with G-d on a day-to-day level. The necessity of connecting Yom Kippur to the realities of the rest of the year is illustrated by the service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur.

On this day he would enter the Holy of Holies where he was alone with the Shechinah, the revealed Divine Presence. No deeper religious experience is imaginable. Immediately, however, he would offer a short and simple prayer, requesting blessings for an untroubled livelihood on behalf of the Jewish people.

Fresh from his ascent to great spiritual heights, he would immediately thrust himself into concern for the Jewish people on a day-to-day level.

We, perhaps, do not experience the same heights as the High Priest in the Holy of Holies, but we do have spiritual peaks, times when we feel more in touch with our souls and with G-d.

Surely this applies to Yom Kippur, a day on which we are removed from all worldly concerns.

We cannot allow such moments to remain unconnected to our ordinary lives; rather, the spiritual power of these special days should be used to recharge our everyday service of G-d.

This course of action also calls down blessings upon our material affairs.

When G-d sees that an individual focuses his intention on elevating the world around him and keeps that intention in mind even at the highest peaks of his spiritual experience, He rewards him with success both in his divine service and in his material affairs.

G-d blesses him with health, wealth, and children.

This approach to the service of G-d leads to the ultimate fusion of material prosperity and spiritual growth which will take place in the Era of the Redemption