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The Fast of Yom Kippur
The Parsha discusses the festivals. Previously, Parshas Acharei discussed
Yom Kippur. The Kohein was to make a cloud of incense in the Holy of Holies,
"because in the cloud I appear on the Ark-cover...' "
In Outline #33, we reported the words of the Noam M'gadim: The Hebrew
word for cloud, `anon,' is related to the word for humble, `anov.' The Noam
M'gadim goes on to say that the atonement of Yom Kippur is brought about
through humility. This is tied in with the "cloud:" The cloud darkens, just
as a humble person darkens his own brilliance.
Our Parsha says about Yom Kippur:
Vayikra ch. 23:32 It is a day of rest for you, and you will afflict
The word for "afflict" is `anisem:' To pain, afflict, fast, to humble.
Thus, according to the Noam M'gadim, the purpose of the fast could be seen
as bringing about humility and submission of the soul by weakening the physical
senses. (See Insights, Vol. 6 #26, where we discussed various interpretations
of the "affliction" and "atonement.")
Yom Kippur and Purim
It is well known that the Tekunei Zohar compares the words
"Purim" and "K'purim." Many commentaries have struggled to explain the similarity
of Purim to Yom Kippur (which seem completely distinct). A remarkable explanation
is found in the name of Hayehudi Hakodesh ("The Holy Jew" of Preshischa.)
There are two types of metallic refinement: First, the coarse should
be separated from the fine gold. Next, however, one must return to the waste
product and refine again, for there are choice pieces of gold left hidden
among the chaff.
On Yom Kippur, the goal is to remove the bad from the good. Therefore,
there is no eating or drinking, etc. We come away strengthened, our bodies
purified from all waste. On Purim, however, the good is taken from the bad.
Therefore, we eat, drink wine and rejoice -- with intention to clarify and
elevate the good that remains hidden within the chaff... The intention of
both days is precisely the same -- to separate the pure from the impure...
(See further: Nifla'os Hayehudi, p. 54)
Of course, Purim symbolizes the eventual fall of Amalek, the embodiment
of evil. According to the above commentary, this is understood: The waste
product from the second refinement is cast aside altogether...
Chodshei Hashanah, Part Twenty-One
The Names of the Months, Continued
Last week, we referred to the Responsa of Maharam Schick, which had
prohibited the use of secular dates on tombstones. We concluded with Kol
Bo al Aveilus, which took a more lenient approach. The words of Kol Bo al
Aveilus are important regarding use of the secular dates in general, but
in terms of tombstones, several contemporary authorities are stringent. Pnei
Baruch (36:10) and Chesed Shel Emes (39:7), both published in the last twenty
years, each refer to Kol Bo al Aveilus in references, but only mention the
stringent view of Maharam Schick -- that only the Jewish date be mentioned
on the tombstone.
A monthly publication by the Chasidim of Munkatch, entitled Chodesh
B'chodsho, recorded this year that the author of Minchas Elazar was stringent
regarding tombstones, in accordance with the Maharam Schick. The great authority
of the laws of death and mourning, the Gesher Hachayim, only mentions the
stringent view, as well (28:3:4, without citing any source).
In general, keep in mind the words of Kol Bo al Aveilus. "Since this
dating system is universally used today -- by Jews -- perish the thought
that any prohibition is involved." (The Kol Bo al Aveilus, written by the
Rav of Columbus, Ohio a generation ago).
The Aramaic Names
The Torah Shleimah (appendix to Bo), writes that the Aramaic names for
the months seemingly refer to the names of the Chaldean idolatries. Because
the Torah prohibits mentioning the names of idols, the Sages needed to show
that there are specific Hebrew meanings alluded to by the Aramaic names.
(Incidentally, the Bnei Yissaschar holds that the Aramaic names of the months
were actually part of Moshe's Torah, but were only revealed during the Babylonian
Summation: Use of The Secular Dates
My Rebbe, Rav Yehoshua Heschel Eichenstein, Admor of Zeditchov/Chicago,
advises to abbreviate the English month names, because some of these names,
as well, refer to Roman idolatries. In summary, he said that it was preferable
to use the names of the months rather than numbers; to abbreviate the months,
and to shorten the year, (e.g. `97). [Thanks to Leonard Saphire-Bernstein
for bringing Rav Eichenstein's words to our attention.]
Haaros -- insights presented in a novel manner -- are meant to stimulate
provoke, but are by no means conclusive. Readers are encouraged to look
original sources. Since there are many factors that might be taken into
consideration, actual questions regarding Jewish Practice should be addressed
to the appropriate authorities.
Copyright (c) `97, Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis