The view from my veranda

Yom Kippur 2013- 10 Tishrei 5774

12th September 2013
Shabbat Shalom dear friends
This is a very special Shabbat which coincides with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Traditionally this is a day that we fast – not as a punishment but rather to indicate that we are so deeply into our devotions and determination to improve ourselves that we forget about the self-indulgences of food and drink.
What always impressed me is that we do not simply beg for forgiveness of our sins but rather of mankind in general and Jews in particular.
We are aware of the usual sins – killing, lying, being snobbish, harming others physically, etc etc but often forget about the sin that requires the forgiveness of another human being rather than of the Almighty. That is the sin of public humiliation. It can be face to face or through gossip but for that sin we must beg forgiveness from the one we harm indeed it goes even further – we must continue to beg their forgiveness but if they refuse to forgive after three attempts the sin reverts to them.
What does that teach us? That to lie and harm the quality of life of another human being is the ultimate sin.
Israel does everything possible to make this world a better place. We give and give, saving lives of friend and foe alike, creating medicines, medical technology and high-tech but still there are many who slander us. We would not need three apologies should they accept us for what we are,  we would accept the first apology with open arms!!!!
Norman and Lola Cohen are exceptional people whose purpose in life is to make the world a better place by extolling the virtues of Israel – the real Israel. This week they wrote of all the wonderful things that Israel does for those who offer no apologies for their libel. We tend the sick of our neighbours, we have offered succour to Syrian injured who cross the border, Syrian doctors bringing their worst cases to the border and handing them over to IDF doctors who either tend to them in the field hospital on the Golan or take them to major Israeli hospitals;  we send out love and aid to the most heavily stricken parts of the globe and we do not need apologies before doing good -we also do not apologise for being good.
That is the secret of Yom Kippur. Not just to apologise to G-d and beat our chests for our sins of the past but to determine to do better – tikkun olam. We should not wait for someone to prove friendship in order to offer the hand of friendship; we should not wait for other countries to accept us before improving their lives
We must not forget the Yom Kippur war. The war that caused many a brave young man to leave his prayers and  save our country. Men and women who were not eligible for call-up volunteered and took the workplaces of those who went to the fronts – yes fronts for we have more borders than land! Avigdor Kahalani was a hero of the Yom Kippur war. Here you see him in the clips that accompany the IDF Cantor Shai Abrahamson, who sings for Yom Kippur.
I wish you a peaceful year, a better year, an easy fast, a heart full of love and love requited. I don’t want everyone to be like me, of like us, or like you…….. I just want us to accept each other and our differences. Indeed I want us to celebrate our differences.
Of all music that represents Yom Kippur it must be Kol Nidre – the evening and opening prayer of that solemn day. This exquisite music, sung by even the most simple of men, opens our hearts and minds to change – to acceptance and to recogniition that we are not alone in this world.  Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot – Kol Nidrei
With much love to you from New York City where I am thrilled to be with my beautiful children and grandchildren. My heart is in Jerusalem, always will be, but I cannot foget what happened here in this city 12 years and two days ago……….. for that we must expect repentance.

If I have in any way offended you, harmed you or anyone you love then please accept my repentence and know that I will try to do better