Sedra of the Week: Yom Kippur

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Sedra of the Week: Yom Kippur

Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson reflects on the forthcoming week's portion of the Torah

Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson executive director of Chabad of Belgravia, London

The Talmud (Taanis 26b) interprets the verse from Song of Songs, — “on the day of His wedding” — as the day the Jewish people received the Torah. Rashi comments this refers to the day God gave us the second tablets, rather than the first.

Remarkably then, the Talmud sees Yom Kippur as the wedding anniversary between God and the Jewish people!

Here’s why this is relevant. The problem with many relationships is that we tend to hold onto the mistakes made by the people we love, and often hold their present self up to their former self. In other words, when we interact with our husband, wife, parent, sibling or child, we tend to see them not in the present, but through the prism of their accumulated past.

Just imagine how different relationships would be if during each encounter we looked at the people in front of us with a new set of eyes, deleting, at least for this moment, any negative history between us.

Long before Eckhart Tolle wrote his bestseller The Power of Now, the mystics taught that the universe is created every single moment anew, so that the universe of this moment is not a continuation of the universe of a moment ago, but is an entirely new universe with its own infinite potential!       

Approach God, your devoted partner in life, with an open mind and heart, and let go of the distance, the disappointment that may have built up inside you as a result of the times you felt let down by God, and begin this moment, and the new year by extension, anew and afresh, in love and with joy.

Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson is rabbi of Beit Baruch and executive director of Chabad of Belgravia, London

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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