Yom Kippur. The Day of Atononement a day that the Torah says cleanses us of all our sins before GOD. However, the Talmud in Tractate Yoma 87b states that Yom Kippur does not automatically atone for the sins between us and our fellow man. Instead we have the responsibility to personally request forgiveness from those we have wronged.

The importance of working to improve not just our relationship with GOD but also with our fellow man is echoed throughout the Yom Kippur liturgy. One of the most powerful examples, which I only just noticed this past Rosh Hashana, is found in a paragraph inserted around the blessing of Modim in the repetition of the Amida for Mussaf on both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. In this paragraph we beseech GOD to save us from a wide array of calamities. Amongst these calamities (e.g. plagues etc.) we ask GOD to also save us from Sinat Chinam or baseless hatred.

Sinat Chinam being grouped with other types of calamities allows us to see just how grave this sin  is and the damage it can cause. It is therefore, important for us to, over Yom Kippur, begin to contemplate, even in the smallest of ways, how we can reduce the sinat chinam we have for others and increase our Ahavat Chinam for them.

May we merit improving our relationships with our fellow man and our creator over this Yom Kippur. May it then be GOD’s will that the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) which was originally destroyed due to sinat chinam be rebuilt and Moschiach come speedily in our days.

Gmar Chatima Tova (May we all be sealed in the book of life and goodness, for life, goodness, peace, good livelihood and overall good things) — Gidon Herschander Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh (the holy city of Jerusalem) 9 Tishrei,5776