בס״ד
ערב יום כיפור, תשפ״א
Yom Kippur Eve, 2020

Dear Congregants and Friends;

Each and every one of us is challenged to think in this Yom Kippur, what is the message God is sending him or her together with the Covid-19.  Do allow me to share my thoughts with you.

'Externalise less, internalised more’. This formula, has a variety of ways to be implemented. Listen, (internalised) do not only Talk (externalised). And listen in order to understand, not in order to reply; we should not patronise (externalised), but “look into his eyes” and respect him (internalise).  We should not boast with our luck (externalise), use what was given to you in modesty (internalised).

In other words, Covid-19 came with a message. We have to stay secluded as we might have failed in our approach to other human beings; in keeping ‘the laws between men and men', because we gossiped, because we slandered, we hurt, we did not forgive. Because we forgot that the other man or woman is not less important.  If we fail to treat the other with respect, God secludes us away from him.

If my understanding is correct, then we can amend. 'It does not cost money.' The effort is not a major one. All we need to do is commit to the future. And even if we fail from time to time, 'we should never surrender'. Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 21). And as Rabba said in tractate arachyn  (page 15B) "He who wishes life – [can attain it] through his tongue”.  Our national poet, Claim Nachman Bialik, referring to the quote “With no tongue, there is no wisdom, no Torah, no medicine."  We are required to use our tongue in a right and just manner.  We face this challenge these days, and we are yet to be successful. The disputes, the arguments, the manner in which we express criticism, became routine, taken for granted, 'all is permitted' became a failure, which failure we can all reverse.  Each and every one of us should be an example to one and all.

This year, our prayers on Yom Kippur are more challenging, are deeper, more personal, yes more internalised.  This is for us. So next year, we shall join together 'With the multitude of people, is the glory of The King', where are more loved and love more, where we are united , internalising the good of our fellow human being, always remembering King Solomon’s saying “Hatred stirreth up strife; but love covereth all transgressions”.

May all of us together and each of us individually have a chatima tova, a year of health and stability, a year in which we avoid hatred even for a cause and adopt 'love they neigbour as thyself', even for no reason and no cause, a year of unity. In lieu of externalising ourselves, let us externalise the love of God and the love of the other.  Let us achieve it this year and for many other years to come.

Hatima Tova,

Zalli Jaffe,
Acting President