Crash Cards for Yom Kippur (ca 5760)
by Marc Mangel
• What is the organizing principle of Yom Kippur?
• In When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Kushner tells the story of a father’s who daughter dies in a car accident and the man begins with “You know, Rabbi, I didn’t fast last Yom Kippur”
• Today is not about retribution. Many Torah portions could have been picked but the morning Torah reading is about God releasing us from missed opportunities. It is not about taking care of heaven but of Heaven taking care of us
• The world is given to us to make holy. How do we do this?
• The morning Haftorah tells us that a meaningless fast is seen in heaven.
• Rather: Don’t do business today, don’t oppress, don’t be in strife, let the oppressed go free, share bread with the hungry, take the wretched into your home, banish the menacing hand and evil speech, offer compassion to the hungry. In other words — take care of the world.
• Tikkun Olam is what today is about.
• The traditional reading for Mincha is Vayikra 18: how to relate to the people closest to you. An alternative sometimes read is Vayikra 19: the holiness code, about how to take care of the community
• I won’t repeat myself.
• The crescendo for the day is Jonah. Rabbi Hirsch notes that this Haftorah speaks of the repentance of the people of Nineveh and how God forgave them.
• This Haftorah shows the importance of individual behavior and how all can hinge on the actions of one person.
• In conclusion. First, leave here with renewed vigor for Tikkun Olam this year. Second, behave as if the souls of 120,000 people (and many cattle) depend on what you do.