Let’s Be Real – Yom Kippur | R’ Pinchos Doppelt

When Rosh Hashana arrives we are introduced to the avoda of מלכיות. We start saying המלך הקדוש and המלך המשפט. The Chazzan calls out with all his strength המלך and the whole congregation responds in kind.

One would have thought that after Rosh Hashana we would return to saying הקל הקדוש as usual, but we don’t. Furthermore, on Yom Kippur we continue the custom that the Chazzan calls out המלך.

The question is why? We are told that the avoda of Rosh Hashanah is מלכיות. On the other hand עשית and יוכפ seem to revolve around Teshuva סליחה and כפרה. So why are we still busy with המלך? If you would like to say that מלכיות is still part of our avoda, then perhaps we should be blowing shofar during these days.

So I heard an answer that in essence the avoda of מלכיות is finished, but since during these ten days Hashem is judging us so we continue to say המלך [see Rashi in Brachos].  Just like a king judges his subjects, similarly Hashem is judging us at this time. However, I believe that it goes deeper than that.

The Mashgiach Reb Nosson brings from the Alter from Kelm that ר״ה is the Rosh Hashanah for קבלת עול מלכות שמים. In essence, the concept of מלכיות is not limited to ר״ה at all. We do this every day, twice a day, when we say קריאת שמע. Unfortunately, we can slack off in doing it properly, so Hashem gave us one day to give us chizzuk in קבלת עול מלכות שמים.

Based on this, I would like to say the following. We can explain that while the avoda of ר״ה is  שמע ישראל, the avoda of יוכפ is ברוך שם כבודמלכותו לעולם ועד. Let me explain.

During the time of the Bais Hamikdash, the Bais Hamikdash was the place where Hashem’s kingdom was in the open. That was the place where the avoda took place. The beauty and splendor of Hashem’s kingdom shone out of the Bais Hamikdash. Yom Kippur was the time of the year when the entire day was focused on the Bais Hamikdash. Everyone waited with bated breath to see if Hashem had forgiven them, when the red string turned white.

Additionally, the entire day the Kohen Gadol did the Avoda, and what a spectacle it was, as we say in the פיוט of מראה כהן. What about the Kohen Gadol saying the שם המפורש and everyone falling on their face and crying out ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד?

So we see that while on ר״ה the avoda is more heart for קבלת עול מלכות שמים, on יוכפ it’s to bring out the כבוד מלכותו. That’s why we cry out המלך, because we are still busy with מלכיות. Going along this path, we can say that the avoda of עשית is also to bring out the כבוד מלכותו. How? By doing Teshuva and מעשים טובים.

The truth is that many have the custom to build the Sukka and search for their Daled minim during the days of עשית. This is also a manifestation of כבוד מלכותו as well. They are getting involved in mitzvosand they are preparing for the Yom tov that they will spend time בצלהשכינה.

Today, we do not have the Bais Hamikdash yet [ it is coming soon]. However, as Chazal teach us that our saying the avoda is instead of doing it – ונשלמה פרים שפתינו. Therefore, the way we bring out the כבודמלכותו of Yom Kippur is by saying the avoda with utmost kavana.

However, we need to be yearning that the Bais hamikdash should return and the Kohen Gadol should do the avoda once again. As we mentioned earlier, the Bais hamikdash was the place of כבוד מלכותו. So on a day like Yom Kippurת we need to yearn like never before for the כבוד מלכותו to return.

Practically speaking, מלכיות means to proclaim Hashem the king. It alsomeans to take action in serving Hashem with beauty and splendor and with זריזות like in the Bais Hamikdash. However, there is another element in this avoda of מלכיות that is so fundamental and is the work of a lifetime. The good news is that during the days of עשית it’s much easier to get it.

It’s called ביטול. There are different names for it, but the idea is to be מבטל ourselves to Hashem. As Avraham Avinu told Hashem אנכי עפרואפר. He didn’t just say it. He felt it. He lived with these words. That’s how he was able to rise so high and be ready to sacrifice his son at the עקידה.

A Yid is made up of the body and his neshama which are pulling in two directions. The neshama wants to be מבטל itself to Hashem, while the body wants to be independent. Our avoda is לעבוד את האדמה, to take the earthenware vessel and to make it a vessel for Hashem, that even the body wants to do the רצון ה. This is part of מלכיות that the neshamarules over the body. This causes Hashem to become the Melech over the entire person as well.

The נתיבות שלום and many other seforim explain that the core avodathese days is ביטול. Starting with Rosh Hashanah we are supposed to take a shofar that is bent, to remind ourselves that we need to bend ourselves to Hashem [as the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah says].

Furthermore, we are told that it’s preferable to use a שופר from an איל. The basic reason given is to bring out the zechus akeida. However, others bring down that the reason is that we should remember to be מבטל ourselves to Hashem just like Avraham and Yitzchok.

Hagaon Rav Aron Walkin Zt”l explained that we see that ביטול is the theme of Yom Kippur. He says that perhaps the reason why there are חמשה ענויים is to humble us. When a persons body doesn’t get its desires it becomes humble. The קיטל reminds a person of יום המיתה. All this enables us to be מבטל ourselves to Hashem.

I would like to take this a step further. During the days of the עשית, Hashem is judging us whether we will live this year or the opposite ח”ו. We are saying that during these ten days we have the avoda of מלכיות. One would have said that these two things aren’t directly related. However, based on what we are saying it is strongly related.

There are many stories of people who were in situations of life and death. Baruch HaShem they came out alive, but they were changed for life. I believe that in many cases the reason for this is because when one is in a life threatening situation, he realizes how fragile he really is. He realizes that he is in Hashem’s hands and at that point he reaches a ביטול. This enables him to change drastically. This is the avoda of the days of the עשית.

Let me tell you a story [that I heard from a very reliable source] that I heard recently, which sent chills up my spine. Hopefully it will give us a better perspective at Yom Hadin.

There was a Yid who we will refer to as Moshe. Moshe would go every year on Rosh Hashanah night to get a Bracha from the Gadol HadorRav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l to be inscribed in the book of life. One year as usual he went on line to receive the bracha. When it came his turn Rav Chaim skipped over him.

At first Moshe thought that it was a mistake so he got into the line again, but to his horror Rav Chaim skipped him again. Moshe went over to a friend and asked him to approach Rav Chaim [as he didn’t have the guts to go over himself]. His loyal friend approached Reb Chaim, and Reb Chaim responded that he sees that his friend will not live through the year.

The friend hesitantly went back Moshe and relayed the words of the tzaddik. As you can imagine, Moshe was shaken to the core. At first he felt lost, but he grabbed a hold of himself. From that day on he did constant teshuva with much weeping. He threw himself into learning with all his might. He didn’t stop learning for nothing.

Baruch HaShem, Moshe lived through the year. The next Rosh Hashana Moshe’s friend once again approached Rav Chaim zt”l and told Rav Chaim what happened. Reb Chaim then quoted a passuk in Parshas כי תצא that says the following:  וכי יהי באיש חטא משפט מות והומתReb Chaim explains that if there is a decree on someone to die, ותליתאותו על העץ – You should hang yourself on the עץ of Torah.

Obviously, there is much to learn from this story. However, I would like to bring out that had this man resigned to his fate and had sank into depression, he wouldn’t have made it. Had this man said,”Eh! RavChaim doesn’t really know [chalila],” he also wouldn’t have made it. This man saw the tzara and was mevatel himself to Hashem.

If we look at Yom Kippur and we do not feel any fear, then we will miss the opportunity. We need to realize that yes there is a big סכנה. No one knows what this year will bring. This is called being realistic, not the other way around. This will cause us to be mevatel ourselves to Hashem as we explained. This is how we can get a sweet year.

So when we say זכרינו לחיים, we beseech Hashem to give us life, but we will add in these most vital words. That is למענך אלוקים חיים it’s all about you. This can be said when one is mevatel themselves to Hashem, as we explained.

I would like to conclude with a story. There were two bachurim whowere very close friends in Yeshiva. They were similar in many ways. One similarity was that they both struggled with their learning.

One year, after Sukkos one of the Bachurim noticed that his friend started picking up in his learning. He was learning with much hasmadaand was actually understanding the Gemara. One day he approached his friend and asked him what happened that he changed so fast.

He told him as follows. This year, on Rosh Hashana, I made up mymind that over the ימים נוראים I was going to beg and plead with Hashem to open my heart to Torah. On Rosh Hashana, throughout the tekios, I davened for Torah. Throughout the davening of the entire  עשית I kept begging Hashem nonstop to open my heart to Torah. Baruch Hashem, I was answered.

Obviously, the moral of this story is that if you want something from Hashem, keep davening and eventually Hashem will give it to you. Especially if it’s Torah and its during the ימי הרחמים והרצון. I believe that everyone should think of something that they need desperately and chap arein this Yom Kippur.

However, there is one thing that we keep davening for over and over on Yom Kippur [and Rosh Hashana as well]. We keep begging Hashem to bring back the מלכות שמים to this world once again. If we succeed in our avoda of מלכיות, by being mevatel ourselves to Hashem, then we’llbe waiting anxiously for malchus of Hashem to return speedily.

Reb Yehoshua ben Levi asked Eliyahu Hanavi why Moshiach doesn’t come on Yom Kippur. Rav Moshe Sorotzkin shlit”a points out that it’s pretty clear from this Gemara that Yom Kippur is an ideal time to bring Moshiach. As we explained earlier, we can understand it even better. It’s a day of ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד What can be a better day than this one?

Let us storm the heaven this Yom Kippur and daven for מלכות שמיםthroughout the davening like that bachur, and when we get to to the words וישמיענו ברחמיו שנית לעיני כל חי we should have hot salty tears coming down our cheeks that Hashem should reveal his Malchus in this world once again and we should hear the Kohen Gadol saying the שם המפורש in the third Bais Hamikdash. Amen.

  ,גמר חתימה טובה

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