Yom Kippur Message

Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer
With Yom Kippur fast approaching we are all trying to do Teshuva, to make amends for what we have done wrong in order to merit a final sealing of a good decree for the upcoming year. This decree will determine all matters both big and small that will happen to us in the year 5780. How can we ensure that we will be successful? What can we do to merit the Divine blessing and decree for happiness and success for ourselves and our families?

A few thoughts:

  • Hashem is looking to see that we are on the right path. If one is right near his desired destination but headed in the wrong direction, he will not end up where he should be. If one is far from his desired destination but headed in the right direction, he will end up where he should be. If we are headed in the right direction, Hashem will see that and judge us favorably. "A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step", which brings a person to a second step and then a third, etc. To grow into the people that we want to become we need to take a step in the right direction to start the journey. This step needs to be thought out and a step which will lead us down the path we want to go on to get to our destination. Application: If someone wants to grow as a Jew, setting up 3 minutes a day that they learn some Torah would be a step in the right direction. 3 minutes a day, consistently and constantly, from a sefer like this sefer, or Torah study book, will be a meaningful step towards strengthening our "Jewish muscles" to then enable us to tackle the next step.

  • "Hashem did not find any other vessel to hold blessing like peace." (Uktzim Chapter 3 Mishnah 12) By improving our interpersonal relationships and specifically our family bonds, we will become worthy of Hashem's blessing. Famously, the generation of those that built the Tower of Bavel to make war with G-d himself, did not receive a fate of destruction like the generation of the flood. The reason for this was that they were united and at peace with each other. Much like a parent is brought the most pleasure from seeing his children getting along harmoniously, Hashem wants to see his children living peacefully and happily together. Application: If someone were to focus on being more peaceful with his family, he should accept upon himself a specific area, situation, time, type of behavior, that he resolves to improve in. Change comes slowly. By resolving to greet one's spouse or other family member pleasantly, even just once a day, you will head down the path of living a peaceful life, and thereby merit Hashem's blessing.

  • Gain forgiveness from others. The Torah teaches us that the very day of Yom Kippur itself- being kept properly- has the power to cleanse one of his sins. However, misdeeds that we have done to another person will not be forgiven. The person who was mistreated must personally forgive you for any wrongs done to them. In order to fully be absolved of the sins done to someone else, one must appease and "settle the spirit" of the one who was wronged. Application: The people that we are most familiar with, our co-workers, friends, neighbors and especially our family members, we have probably wronged the most and therefore it is most important to gain their forgiveness. Sometimes, those that are closest to us we also feel most uncomfortable asking forgiveness from. By partaking in the customary tradition of asking forgiveness from our close ones on Erev Yom Kippur, the day before Yom Kippur, we can more easily "break the ice" as well as model proper behavior for those around us.

On behalf of myself, Rabbi Scharf, and the entire Shalom Torah family, past and present, I would like to ask forgiveness for any wrong that may have been done to you.

Shalom Torah is an amazing institution that has so positively impacted so many people over the past 40+ years since its founding. There have also been many people that have been hurt in many different ways. We all try, and the past administrators have similarly tried, to make Shalom as great as it can be, and to do it in as peaceful and proper a way as possible, for everyone involved.

On this Erev Yom Kippur, please find it in you to forgive us. Hashem should in turn judge you favorably and bless you and your family with a year and a life of happiness, success and Shalom.

Have an easy and meaningful fast,

Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer

Before the awesome day of Yom Kippur it is customary to give our children a Bracha that reflects our hope that they should grow up to be happy, successful, proud Jews that bring pride to the entire Jewish nation.

Bracha for Boys:

Bracha for Girls:

Reproduced from the "Seif edition Transliterated Machzor" with permission of the copyright holders, ArtScroll / Mesorah Publications, Ltd.