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2nd Day Of Rosh Hashanah, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu, Shabbos Shuvah

Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu

Tzom Gedaliah

Tzivos Hashem

Eve Of 6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

6th Day Of Tishrei, 5745

Equal Rights

Blessings Erev Yom Kippur, 5745

The Blessing To The Students of Tomchei Temimim Before Kol Nidrei

Yartzeit of Rebbe Maharash

1st Night Of Sukkos, 5745

2nd Night of Sukkos, 5745

3rd Night of Sukkos, 5745

4th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

5th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

6th Night Of Sukkos, 5745

Tzivos Hashem

Hosha'ana Rabbah, 5745

Eve Of Simchas Torah, 5745

Day Of Simchas Torah, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis


Shabbos Parshas Noach

Shabbos Parshas Lech Lecha

Birthday Of Rebbe Rashab

Sichos In English
Volume 23

Blessings Erev Yom Kippur, 5745

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  Equal RightsThe Blessing To The Students of Tomchei Temimim Before Kol Nidrei  


Erev Yom Kippur, particularly in the hours after the recitation of the Minchah prayer, is not merely a preparation for Yom Kippur; rather, it shares the service of Yom Kippur itself. Indeed, it possesses a dimension in which its service surpasses that of Yom Kippur.

The Talmud (Yoma 81b) states: Whoever eats and drinks on Erev Yom Kippur is considered as if he fasted on Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur, itself. The Pri Eitz Chayim develops this theme further explaining that on Erev Yom Kippur a person should eat the amount of food which he would normally eat for two days, for Erev Yom Kippur and for Yom Kippur itself.

The Pri Eitz Chayim continues to explain that Yom Kippur itself is connected with sustenance. However, it is not associated with physical food, but rather, the inner nourishment the soul derives from the inner aspects of the sefirah of Binah. The Alter Rebbe explains this concept based on Tehillim 33:19, "to give them life in hunger"; "the hunger" of Yom Kippur is the source of life for the soul, and thus, grants life to the body as well.

In order to be able to partake of this "inner nourishment" on Yom Kippur, it is necessary to first partake of the "external sustenance" of Erev Yom Kippur. Indeed, eating on Erev Yom Kippur takes the place of eating on Yom Kippur itself. Thus, the service of Erev Yom Kippur is part and parcel of the service of Yom Kippur. Though it is merely "external," for a Jew there is no fundamental difference between the "inner" and the "external." On the contrary, the "external" service of Erev Yom Kippur allows for the "inner" service of Yom Kippur, including the "inner nourishment" experienced then.

Based on the above, we can appreciate an advantage possessed by Erev Yom Kippur over Yom Kippur itself. The fact that the service of Erev Yom Kippur is involved with actual physical food and drink demonstrates that it emanates from a higher source.

The Tikkunei Zohar explains a similar concept regarding the comparison between Yom Kippur and Purim. Yom Kippur is "like Purim." Eating and drinking on Purim achieves the same effect as the service of Yom Kippur. This itself shows that its source is higher.

As an expression of the unique nature of the day, many tzaddikim, including my father, would be careful to use only one hand when eating the entire year, but would eat with both hands on Erev Yom Kippur.

The sages' statement that eating on Erev Yom Kippur is considered as if one fasted for two days implies that through eating today one assures himself of attaining a full measure of "the inner nourishment" of Yom Kippur. The "inner nourishment" of Yom Kippur is granted from above. All that is necessary for man to do is to prepare himself to receive this "nourishment" by eating on Erev Yom Kippur.

A parallel to this idea can be found in our sages' statement that "the essence of the day brings atonement." Though it is necessary for man to prepare himself through the service of teshuvah, the atonement is a result of the influence of "the essence of the day." Our teshuvah is only necessary to remove any barriers that might prevent that influence from having an effect.


The teshuvah of Yom Kippur is the higher rung of teshuvah, Teshuvah Ila'ah. Even the service of the Ten Days of Repentance is one of Teshuvah Ila'ah. The lower levels of teshuvah were completed in Elul and in the days of Selichos; Rosh HaShanah begins the service of Teshuvah Ila'ah.

This is particularly true on Yom Kippur which: a) follows Shabbos Teshuvah which emphasizes the higher level of teshuvah more than the other days of repentance as explained in Iggeres HaTeshuvah that Shabbos is the aspect of Teshuvah Ila'ah and the word Shabbos and Tashev have the same letters; b) is called "the Shabbos of Shabboson," implying that it approaches the highest levels of teshuvah.

Accordingly, the teshuvah of Yom Kippur is characterized by joy. This concept finds expression in Halachah. The Alter Rebbe writes in his Shulchan Aruch that a person who wears sackcloth the entire year as a service of teshuvah must change it for a festive garment on Yom Kippur. Similarly, in Iggeres HaTeshu-vah (Chapter 8), he writes that Teshuvah Ila'ah, the service of Yom Kippur, is an expression of great joy.

This also is related to the aspect of Yom Kippur associated with the giving of the second tablets. Teshuvah Ila'ah finds expression in Torah study (ibid) and thus, is further related to joy for "the precepts of G-d make glad the heart."


There is an added dimension to the above this year for Yom Kippur falls on the Shabbos. Yom Kippur transcends the Shabbos; it is "the Shabbos of Shabboson." However, Shabbos is "a constant holiness continuing from the seven days of creation," a quality Yom Kippur lacks. Thus, it is possible to combine both qualities this year.

There are parallels between the two. Both are unique and expressions of oneness. Thus, Bereishis Rabbah relates that "Shabbos has no mate." Similarly, Yom Kippur is "once in a year" (Shemos 30:10). They both are united with the Jewish people. Bereishis Rabbah continues describing the Jews as "the mate of Shabbos." Similarly, Yom Kippur and the revelation of oneness, "the essence of the day," relates to the revelation of the essence of the soul of every Jew, the level of yechidah (oneness). In particular, this refers to the spark of creation which becomes one with the spark of the Creator.

The connection between Shabbos and Yom Kippur is further emphasized by the fact that Shabbos relates to the qualities of Yom Kippur mentioned above:

  1. As explained above, Shabbos is identified with Teshuvah Ila'ah, the higher rung of teshuvah.

  2. Shabbos is also associated with happiness. The Talmud Yerushalmi (Berachos 2:7) states, "There is no sadness during Shabbos." Thus, Shabbos should contribute happiness to all the aspects of Yom Kippur.

  3. In regard to Torah -- the Talmud Shabbos 86b states: "All agree that the Torah was given on Shabbos." This refers to the giving of the first tablets. On Yom Kippur, the second tablets were given. Thus, the two together represent the fusion of both tablets.


This year, Erev Yom Kippur possesses an added quality because it falls on Erev Shabbos. The song of the day (Tehillim 93:1) recited on Erev Shabbos begins: "The L-rd is King. He has garbed Himself with grandeur." It refers to the effect which one individual, Adam, the first man, had on the entire creation. He told all existence: "Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow down; let us bend the knee before the Lord, our Maker."

This service is repeated on each Friday. In particular, it relates to the Friday of the Ten Days of Repentance for the Arizal explains that the seven days of the week between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur include all the days of the week. During this week, it is possible to compensate for the service of all the days of the week in the previous year. Similarly, these days provide blessing for all the seven days of the week in the year to come, granting them the potential to be in the best manner possible.

The above also further expresses the connection between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, for Rosh HaShanah's central theme is the acceptance of G-d as King, the same theme as that of Friday, Erev Yom Kippur.

The Alter Rebbe told his Chassidim that they must live with the times; i.e. adapt their lives to the Torah portion of the week. The above also relates to the Torah portion of the present day; the sixth Aliyah in V'Zos HaBerachah.

That portion (33:27) begins with the greatest blessings: "[The heavens are] the abode of the eternal G-d" and continues 33:28: "Israel dwells in safety, securely alone, in keeping with [the blessings of] Ya'akov." Furthermore, on the words "his heavens will drip with dew," Rashi comments that this alludes to the blessings with which Yitzchok endowed Ya'akov: "May G-d grant you the dew of the heaven...."

This is also related to Rosh HaShanah, as the Mitteler Rebbe explains in his discourse "...The Blowing of the Shofar...," that the shofar is associated with the blessings of Yitzchok, the ultimate blessings which surpass even those of Ya'akov and Moshe. Thus, this year on Erev Yom Kippur, we must live with the great blessings bestowed upon us by Moshe, Ya'akov, and Yitzchok.

Thus, we see three special aspects of this year:

  1. Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos. Thus, the Minchah time of Shabbos Yom Kippur is one of the greatest blessing, for as all Shabbosim, it is the time of "the will of wills." Also, Neilah, the last of the Yom Kippur prayers, is a time when "Israel is alone with their King." This is a source of blessing as Mishlei 16:15 states: "In the light of the countenance of the King is life."

  2. Erev Yom Kippur falls on Erev Shabbos emphasizing the connection to Rosh HaShanah and the acceptance of G-d as King.

    The acceptance of G-d's sovereignty implies the acceptance of His decrees as the Mechilta states: "Accept My Kingship and then I will issue decrees upon you." These decrees, i.e. the totality of Torah and mitzvos, are "a cup of blessing," bringing about "favorable decrees, salvation, and comfort." For as our sages taught: "There is no good other than Torah as it is written: `I have given you a good portion.'" Similarly, a basic principle governing the mitzvos is: "And you shall live in them." Indeed, Torah and mitzvos should be the life of every Jew. [This, in turn, draws down new life to the Torah and mitzvos themselves.]

  3. The Torah portion connected with the day is associated with the greatest blessings as above.

Though all these factors also existed in the previous year, as the Alter Rebbe writes in Iggeres HaKodesh, "each year descends and shines... a new light... which has never yet shined within the world." Therefore, there is the potential for a higher level of service than in the year before.


Heartfelt teshuvah on Erev Yom Kippur will add to the above blessings. Furthermore, the arousal of teshuvah on Erev Yom Kippur brings about a greater arousal of teshuvah on Yom Kippur itself. Since Yom Kippur is the inner aspect of the entire year, this draws down added blessing for the entire year causing the service of the entire year to be characterized by happiness and good feeling. Thus, the service of the entire year becomes one of Uforatzta and L'chatchilah Ariber causing each and every Jew to be sealed for a good year.

May everyone be prepared to accept all the blessings drawn down from above as implied by the Previous Rebbe's statement: "Stand prepared, all of you." This statement can be explained: "Stand" -- with a powerful stance. "All of you" -- with the love for our fellow Jew and unity with all Jews. "Prepared" -- implying that effort is required on man's part, but nevertheless, that effort is merely a preparation to receive G-d's influence.

Adopting such a stance will bring about Shelaimus Ha'om, the complete state of the Jewish nation; and lead to Shelaimus HaTorah, the complete state of the Torah (related to the second tablets which expressed the infinity of Torah); and, thus, bring about Shelaimus Ha'Eretz, the complete state of Eretz Yisroel to the point where its borders are expanded. This will lead to the fulfillment of the blessing: "I will grant peace in the land" for peace is equivalent to the other blessings. Ultimately, this will lead to the greatest blessing, the Messianic redemption.

May the year lead to blessing in all matters. Since these blessings are brought about by the service of the Jewish people, it is proper to mention them in reverse order. [The Rebbe Shlita enumerated a blessing beginning with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet starting with the last letter Tof and ending with the first letter Aleph.] May everyone merit to be sealed for a good year, a year of great success in the study of Torah and the fulfillment of mitzvos, in particular the mitzvah of teshuvah. May this lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy "and the sovereignty will be the L-rd's," speedily, in our days.

  Equal RightsThe Blessing To The Students of Tomchei Temimim Before Kol Nidrei  
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