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TorahAnytimes Newsletter Yom Kippur

Parshat Yom Kippur

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Yom Kippur                                                                                                                      Print Version
10 Tishrei, 5783 | October 5, 2022

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi Eliyahu Maksumov
The Stolen Envelope

There was a 26-year-old man, post military college graduate, living in Tel Aviv and his father was a very wealthy man as a successful contractor. The family was Jewish, but not religious. And one day, this 26-year-old man, who has his whole life ahead of him, gets on his motorcycle and drives down the streets of Tel Aviv.

He sees a store and figures that he’ll quickly run into the store and buy himself a drink. As he's walking towards the store, a religious man approaches him and gives him a flyer. He looks at the flyer and it says, “The purpose of life.” That was the title of the class to be given. He then realized that it was a lecture being given by a rabbi in the community. Thinking about it, he considered if he should attend. “My mother always taught me that the purpose of life is to respect her and to treat her well. My father always told me the purpose of life is to make money. My friends told me the purpose of life is to have a good time. Let's hear what the rabbi has to say. Why not?”

So he goes to the lecture and he listens to the rabbi. He was so enamored by everything the rabbi was saying; he was mesmerized, spellbound. He came up to the rabbi with so many questions afterwards, and the rabbi answered all those questions, and slowly but surely, he started to come to more lectures and ask more questions. The rabbi eventually welcomed him to come to his house for Shabbat. And the boy started to become more and more religious. He started wearing a yarmulke and tzitzit.

One day, he comes home and the father sees he's wearing a yarmulke. “What happened to you?” the father asks. “Don't tell me you’re becoming religious. Don't become fanatic. We’re successful as a family. We don't need this.” But the son had what to say. “Dad, I'm happy. Judaism is good.” But the father was adamantly against it all. Every time the son wanted to go to shul or to a lecture, the father reminded him that he was ruining his life. Eventually, the son felt the need to speak up for himself. “Dad, you always taught us that the greatest gift that we have is free will. And as long as we don't hurt anybody, there's nothing wrong with that which my heart desires. So this is what my heart desires. I want to be religious. I want to come close to Hashem. It’s making me a better person. It’s going to help me become a better father, a better husband, a better son. I'm going to treat you better; I'm going to respect you more.” So the father said, “Okay, fine, I'll leave you alone.” The son continued attending shul and learning with the rabbi.

One day he was on his way to the synagogue and he was about to open the door to the study hall where the rabbi was going to speak, when a girl approached him. “Excuse me, but I heard there's a lecture here.” “Yes,” he replied. “You'll love it. I started coming here not too long ago myself.” He started talking to her about the rabbi. After the lecture, she was as well very impressed with the rabbi. And one thing led to another, and before they knew it, the boy decided he wanted to propose. But before he made his final decision, he wanted to get his father's blessing.

So he headed to his father and said, “Dad, I want to marry her. She is a very good girl from a very good family. But I want to get your permission. I want to get your blessing.” The father was concerned. “First, you have to tell me what her father does? What is his occupation?” “I'd rather not answer that question” the son replied. “No,” says the father. “I'm not going to give you my blessing until you tell me. What does her father do?” “Well, her father is unemployed. He doesn't have a job now.” “So who supports them?” “Well, lately his daughter has been supporting him and I have been supporting him with your money.” The father couldn’t believe it. “What's going on here!” “Dad, she is such a good girl, and from such a good family.” The son kept on nudging his father until, eventually, his father gave in and said, “Okay, fine, I'm willing to meet her father.”

Days later, the father was sitting across the girl’s father. “Look, I'll be very honest with you. I don't want you and I don't want your daughter, but my son really likes your daughter. And we're going to do as he wishes. We're going to have a wedding. But I don't want to feel like I was taking advantage of the wedding. I have to impress my friends. I have to impress my relatives. It's going to be very expensive wedding, so I'm going to pay most of it, but you just pay 10%.” “What does 10% mean?” asked the girl’s father. “$10,000.” This girl’s father hadn't seen $10,000 for the past two years. But as a good father, he committed himself to raise the $10,000.

He went around to all his friends, took out loans, borrowed money, all in the interest of raising $10,000. And finally, right before the wedding day arrived, he had all the money ready, and he arrived the wedding and was so excited that he was now able to marry off his daughter. Everyone too could feel the air of celebration.

The chuppa procession began, with its ending turning into a lively gathering of dancing. The father of the bride joined in too, remembering that in his jacket pocket he kept an envelope for $10,000. But with all the joyous celebrations and heat that the father felt, he decided to take off his jacket to thereby allow himself to feel cooler.

Hours later, as the wedding celebrations winded down, the father of the bride returned to his table, where he had left his jacket. And to his surprise, as he places his hand into his jacket pocket, the envelope was nowhere to be found. He checked again, but it was gone. “Excuse me,” he asked around, “but did you see an envelope around?” Nobody knew what he was talking about. Sooner than later, the father of the groom made his way over to the father of the bride and asked for the money.

The father of the bride was beyond belief. “I raised $10,000! I just finally got it together. I put it in my pocket and I put my jacket down. But when I came back, it wasn’t there anymore! I have to find out where it is.” The father of the groom didn’t believe one word. “You and your stories ... I don't believe you. I knew I shouldn't trust you. You lied to me. What kind of family is this? Why are we marrying into your family?”  Of course, when the husbands started to fight, the wives joined in. And when the wives started to join in, the kids started to join too.

It became one big fight, the rich against the poor. Finally, everyone went home, and the newlyweds were broken. This was the day they were waiting for, and it didn’t work out the way they expected. For a whole year, both sides of the family did not talk to each other.

One year later, the wife turned to her husband and said, “This is crazy. Enough is enough. We have to somehow figure out a way. Maybe a rabbi could speak to your father and convince him. to make peace.” “This is my father,” said the husband. “He doesn't listen to any rabbis.” “Maybe we could get him a friend, someone whose opinion he could respect?” she pressed futher. “No, he's not going to respect anyone but himself.” It seemed like a hopeless situation. Until the wife came up with a solution.

“We should invite both sides of the family to our house the same day, and we're going to play for them the video of the wedding. We never even once watched the video. We never bothered because we were so broken after the wedding. Maybe together now for the first time we could all watch the video together.” She, of course, invited her side of the family, and he invited his side of the family.

When everyone arrived, they couldn’t believe it. “What's going on? Why are you here? Why is the other side here?” The husband attempted to calm everyone. “Don't worry, come sit down.” And he played the video, with the hope that when everyone would see how they were dancing together and they were so happy in the video together, that would bring back good feelings.

The father of the groom, father of the bride and all other family members sat down to watch. They noticed the wedding hall, the chandelier, and everything else exquisite that the father of the groom paid for. And then they noticed the moment when the father of the bride took off his jacket and hung it over the chair. “Let’s watch and see what happens,” everyone thought to themselves. The first dance proceeded with everyone dancing around, followed by the second dance. And then the finale, with some remaining people moseying around.

And then they saw it. The father of the groom walked up the father of the bride’s jacket, which still remained hung up over the chair, placed his hand into the pocket of the jacket and removed the envelope. All the family members around gasped. They couldn’t believe it. And more than anything, the father of the groom was beat red, shamefully embarrassed by not only the act of theft he committed, but worse, the huge lie he perpetrated and covered up for so long.

This story is really about life. The Gemara compares this world to a wedding hall, and when we pass on to the Next World, our entire family, along with the Patriarchs, Matriarchs and angels will watch our life. The envelope with the money represents all the minutes in our life. The question is if we steal those minutes away on things which could otherwise be used for more purposeful, productive measures.

However, if we repent for all those moments which we squandered away, and reorient the way we live our lives, those moments can be removed from our life’s video and replaced with reward for good deeds and merits.

But this doesn’t just happen at the end of our lives. This happens every year. As we approach this time of year, and the video of the previous year is replayed, we have the opportunity to take stock of our actions and make amends. And with that, we are capable of undoing our past actions and replacing them with good deeds that will change the course of our upcoming, new year. And with that, we are guaranteed a happy and healthy year to come.

Rabbi Meir Simcha Sperling
Dollars and Minutes

Imagine the following arrangement.

You apply for a credit card, which costs you only $3 in cash. However, every day thereafter, the bank will pay you $1,440. But there is a catch. No money carries over to the next day. Each day, you are given $1,440 anew and it must be spent that day. Now, here is the question.

Would you accept such an offer?

Of course, you would. The money comes to you for no cost. The only caveat that you must spend it that day should not be a problem.

We are given this every day. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. It never transfers to the next day. Whatever you don’t use, you lose. Now the question becomes what do you do with your time? We will never get that time back. Also, time is never guaranteed. When time is over, time is over. If we use it wisely, then it is time well spent.

Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro
The Cat

I live in North Miami Beach and a rebbe from a particular yeshiva for boys who were disconnected and had left the ways of Yiddishkeit called me. He told me that he promised the boys that if they successfully completed certain goals, they could earn a trip to Miami. The trip was not intended to include anything religious; however, the rebbe wanted to see if possibly I would be willing to talk to the boys. I said of course, after which a date and time were set. “Great,” the rebbe said. “There are seventeen boys. Please remember that they are totally disconnected. They haven't kept anything Jewish for the longest time.”

Now, that week I had a tight and pressing schedule. It was on a Tuesday night and I had fifteen minutes during which I planned on speaking to them. I arrived at shul and the rabbi greeted me in the hallway. “Is it okay with you that not everybody showed up?” “No problem,” I said, “I’m not a numbers person. How many are here?” “One,” the rebbe said. “One?” I said aloud, surprised. The other sixteen went banana boating. Hearing this news, there was not much option except to go ahead as planned.

I slightly changed what I had in mind to talk about, making it more informal and personal. I called the boy over to my seat. I had him facing me, and for fifteen minutes I shared with him words. I really poured out my heart. I tried to impress upon him that anything that's done is tremendously grandiose in the eyes of Hashem and not to view it as a small accomplishment. The way heaven counts, it's incredibly large. I was speaking like this for fifteen minutes.

Tuesday night came and went and now it was Wednesday. The truth is, I really wanted to know if I impacted him at all, and was he moved by it? So I called up the rebbe on Wednesday and I wanted to know how the boy was doing. “The boy I brought loved it,” he said. I felt so good to hear this. “Is there anything in particular that he loved?” “The cat,” the rebbe said. I grew confused. “What do you mean? I didn’t speak about a cat.” “I know. In the front of your shul,  you have a cat that sits there and he loves cats and he stayed for about an hour and a half petting the cat. He loved the cat.” “I was referring to what I talked to him about,” I reiterated. Was there anything that I said that impacted him?” “It was the cat,” the rebbe repeated.

I was away for a Shabbaton days later, when shortly before Shabbos began, my phone rang. It was the rebbe. “The cat’s not for sale,” I said, having a sense of where he would go with our conversation. “You remember the boy we spoke two days ago?” Of course I did. “I told you how disconnected these boys were. They haven't kept anything for the longest time.” I remained silent, knowing what he was referring to. “I want you to know that the boy called me an hour ago and said, ‘I want to keep Shabbos. Can I come to your house for Shabbos? I was thinking long and hard about Rabbi Shapiro and what said during those fifteen minutes. It's not such a small thing. It's a big deal. Can I come for Shabbos?’”

“I want you to know,” said the rebbe, “that this boy is about to keep his first Shabbos in many years.”

What was it that inspired him beyond the cat? If I’d say, it was the relationship. He felt welcomed, he felt like a son, he felt the warmth. And with that feeling and with the thought that things are in fact a big deal, a new future was created.

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