Missing them already

They’ve only been gone just over a day, and I miss them already.

Like any rabbi, I appreciate getting your post-Yom Kippur congratulatory messages. Don’t be misled, we rabbis don’t have VIP access to the Boss. Your prayers, like ours, go straight to His inbox. But, I get it, you expect the rabbi to inspire over these holy days and you appreciate it when he does.

Just remember: Rabbis are in Shul daily. More than once a day. This is what we do. We have our inspired moments and a whole lot of very ordinary ones.

And then there’s Yom Kippur.

Maybe we inspire you, maybe we don’t. But, you certainly inspire us. I love Yom Kippur, not only because we have a sell-out crowd, but because of people’s overwhelming commitment. It’s a long service, in a foreign language, punctuated by protracted rabbi speeches (I really don’t like the connotation of “sermon”) and overshadowed by a growling belly. We have those in Shul who can’t follow the Hebrew, yet sit absorbed by the translation or entranced by their own meditation. We have the crowd who skip Shul all year round, but spend dawn to dusk there on Yom Kippur. We have the Kol Nidrei Jews, the Yizkor Jews and the Neilah Jews, who each come for just a short visit, but bring every fibre of their souls to that session. On Yom Kippur the spark of the Jewish soul bursts into flame- each in its own hue.

Then, all too quickly, Yom Kippur is over and the magic recedes. On Wednesday evening, I found myself wishing for Neilah’s resounding “Shema Yisroel” to linger just a minute more.

It was an especially poignant Yom Kippur for my wife and I, having all our children at home. We’ve reached that stage where two of them study abroad, and a third is about to jet off to join her sister.┬áNo matter how long their visits home last, they’re too short.

Over Yom Kippur we had all our children under one roof. G-d had all of His children at home. I assume, like us, He misses them already.

About the Author
Rabbi Shishler together with his wife, Naomi and their eight children, runs Chabad of Strathavon in Sandton, South Africa. Rabbi Shishler is a popular teacher who regularly lectures around the globe. he hosts a weekly radio show in South Africa and is the rabbi of Facebook's largest Ask the Rabbi group.
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