- All the sustenance we receive is in truth a Gift from Above
- Charity and the merit of laying up treasure in heaven
- Women light candles before sunset
- “This is how you shall bless the children of Israel”
- “May Adonai (the LORD) make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.”
- “May Adonai (the LORD) make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah”
All the sustenance we receive is in truth a Gift from Above:
It is customary to ask for and receive “lekach” (עוגת לייקח-a spiced honey cake — signifying a sweet year) from someone (usually one’s mentor or parent) on the day before Yom Kippur. One of the reasons given for this custom is that if it had been decreed, Lord forbid, that during the year we should need to resort to a handout from others, the decree should be satisfied with this asking for food.
“Asking for lekach” on the eve of Yom Kippur instills in us the recognition that all the sustenance we receive throughout the year, including that which we supposedly “earn” by our own powers and endeavors, is in truth a gift from Above (from Avinu Shebashamayim), granted in response to our daily requests from “He who nourishes the entire world” with in His “goodness,” “grace,” “benevolence,” and “compassion.”
Charity and the merit of laying up treasure in heaven:
לֹא־יֹועִילוּ אֹוצְרֹות רֶשַׁע וּצְדָקָה תַּצִּיל מִמָּֽוֶת׃
Treasures of wickedness do not profit but Tzedakah delivers from death.
Throughout the Ten Days of Repentance it is especially meritorious to dispense charity (Tzedakah) generously, for it is written, “Charity (Tzedakah) saves one from death” (Proverbs 10:2). Given its proximity to the judgment of Yom Kippur, it is especially important to distribute charity on Erev Yom Kippur. Many communities have a custom to place charity boxes on the Bimah (בימה) before the Minchah service and encourage the congregation to contribute generously.
אל תאצרו לכם אוצרות עלי אדמות, במקום שהעש והחלודה משחיתים והגנבים חופרים וגונבים. אצרו לכם אוצרות בשמים, במקום אשר עש וחלודה לא ישחיתו וגנבים לא יחפרו ולא יגנבו; כי במקום שאוצרך נמצא, שם יהיה גם לבבך. פ
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The Messiah taught us to: Sell our possessions and give to charity (צדקה-Tzedakah).
We should make for ourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure stored in our souls to be enjoyed in heaven forever, where such treasure cannot be destroyed or stolen. Charity is good for the soul. It is pleasing to Adonai that the poor and the needy be invited to join in the meals. For what we do to the least among us we do to the Holy One whose sacred Image they bear.
Psalm 126 should be read before Birkat HaMazon (ברכת המזון), grace after a meal, and then all the blessings during and after the meals should be recited with sincere feeling (devotion) and concentration (humility), in view of the nearness of Yom Kippur.
Women light candles at least 18 minutes before sunset:
All women and girls (or, if there isn’t a woman in the house, the head of the household) light candles at least 18 minutes before sunset and recite the following blessings:
ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם, אשר קידשנו במצוותיו וציוונו להדליק נר של (אם זה גם שבת – שבת ושל) יום הכיפורים. פ
1. Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-deshanu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzvi-va-nu le-had-lik ner shel (if Yom Kippur is on Shabbat add: Sha-bat vi-shel) Yom Ha-Ki-pu-rim.
Translation: Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to kindle the light of (if Yom Kippur is on Shabbat add: Shabbat and) Yom Kippurim.
.ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם, שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה
2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech ha-o-lam she-he-che-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-hi-gi-ya-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
Translation: Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
“This is how you shall bless the children of Israel”
It is customary for parents to bless their children immediately before the fast. There is no required formula for this blessing, but it is customary to say:
Adonai spoke to Moses saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel, saying to them:
“May the LORD bless you and watch over you.
“May the LORD cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you.
“May the LORD raise His countenance toward you and grant you peace.”
[They shall bestow My Name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.]
“May the Adonai (the LORD) make you like Ephraim and Manasseh:”
For a son the blessing is that he be like Ephraim and Manasseh. Literally the blessing is may you be “Doubly Fruitful” (Ephraim) and “Forgotten” (Manasseh). Originally the firstborn of Joseph (Yosef) in Egypt was Manasseh. When father Israel adopted and made these two grandsons “his sons,” he placed them in the birth order of his firstborn and second born sons:
Blessing #1. Reuben (רְאוּבֵן) – “Behold [My] Son.” From the imperative raah- רָאָה – to see, look at, inspect, perceive, consider, learn about Him (the Messiah): and
Blessing #2. Shim’on (שִׁמְעוֹן) – “Hearing with Acceptance.” From shama’- שָׁמַע – to hear, understand and obey (the Messiah).
However, the Patriarch Israel (Jacob) in the adoption ceremony—with his arms and hands crossed in the configuration of the ancient Hebrew Sign of the Tav—switched the birth order! Therefore, under the Sign of the Tav the second born son Ephraim was made the firstborn son and the firstborn son was made the second born son.
Father Israel’s blessing was a prophetic role-play.
There are many facets to the blessing but its simplest core meaning is may your sins—and the oppression of the world that goes with it—be one day (completely) “Forgotten.” And may you thereafter become “Doubly Fruitful.” Therefore, father Israel is saying to these two new adopted sons—born of an Egyptian mother and an Jewish father—may you (adopted ones) one day realize and enjoy all of the blessings and blessedness that is promised to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel by Adonai our Father; and may all of your trespasses, sins, and transgressions be forgotten and remembered no more.
“May the Adonai (the LORD) make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah:”
For a daughter the blessing is that she be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. Here are four names with great meanings: Sarah is the mother of us all. Her name means “Princess.” Literally her name means one who has “struggled” and “overcome.” So when is the time that a woman struggles and overcomes to the greatest degree? Sarah struggled and overcame in child birth. She gave birth to Isaac, whose name means “Laughter.” All of the good, finer things of life come into existence in the world through the procreative struggles, nurture and personal sacrifices of women.
וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָֽאָדָם בְּצַלְמֹו בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתֹו זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָֽם׃
Elohim created man (אָדָם) in His own image (צֶלֶם), in the image of Elohim He created him (a unity); zakar (זָכָר-a male part) and nekvah (נְקֵבָה-a female part) He created them (a unity).
Reflection #1. When Elohim made ishah (woman) out of ish (man) He did not make her out of the protective exterior of man (זָכָר). The heavenly Father made woman out of the exceedingly more vulnerable and far more precious interior of man (נְקֵבָה).
וַיַּפֵּל ה’ אֱלֹהִים תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל־הָאָדָם וַיִּישָׁן וַיִּקַּח אַחַת מִצַּלְעֹתָיו וַיִּסְגֹּר בָּשָׂר תַּחְתֶּֽנָּה׃
So Adonai Elohim (the LORD God) caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one (sing.) of his ribs (plural) and closed up the flesh at that place.
Reflection #3. The fifth rib is the rib that most intimately rests just over the *apex of the Heart. The life-treasure (blood) that is produced from the center of the soul—metaphorically from ‘inside’ the bone—is what the Heart distributes and circulates throughout the entire body.
*The apex of the heart is located at a point in between the fifth and the sixth left ribs. It is at a distance of about 3 and a ½ inch from the center of your heart.
Reflection #4. The Heart is a symbol of the Spirit. Blood that is generated in the marrow of the bone is symbolic of the Life of the Holy One. ‘Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh’ means the ‘best of my soul and the best of my body:’
וַיֹּאמֶר הָֽאָדָם זֹאת הַפַּעַם עֶצֶם מֵֽעֲצָמַי וּבָשָׂר מִבְּשָׂרִי לְזֹאת יִקָּרֵא אִשָּׁה כִּי מֵאִישׁ לֻֽקֳחָה־זֹּֽאת׃
The man said,
“This is now bone (sing.) of my bones (plural),
And flesh (sing.) of my flesh (plural);
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Suffice it to say that women are representative of the finest, most exquisite intimacies of the Life of the Holy One and therefore, of her husband too (Adam).
Reflection #5. Our heavenly Father is neither male or female. He is the Source of both. He is Eternal Spirit. Not Man. The Hebrew male gender is assigned to the Creator (Hayotzer) only because He pre-exists everyone and everything (in Hebrew – order counts: male is first in order and female is what comes out of the order; ‘everything’ comes out of the Creator, therefore, He is designated by the male gender).
וַיִּבֶן ה’ אֱלֹהִים אֶֽת־הַצֵּלָע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַח מִן־הָֽאָדָם לְאִשָּׁה וַיְבִאֶהָ אֶל־הָֽאָדָֽם׃
Adonai Elohim (the LORD God) fashioned (literally built) into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
Reflection# 6. Ishah is the special part of the Soul (the rib) that rests most closely upon Adonai’s Unfailing Heart (His Divine Spirit).
וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֱלֹהִים לֹא־טֹוב הֱיֹות הָֽאָדָם לְבַדֹּו אֶֽעֱשֶׂהּ־לֹּו עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדֹּֽו׃
Then Adonai Elohim (the LORD God) said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper (ezer-עֵזֶר) corresponding to him.”
Reflection #7. Although (ishah) woman came out of (ish) man and she is the second born, she is the treasured one. She is the completer/helper (עֵזֶר) of man. Adam is the totality of the Image of Adonai. The woman is the best of that totality.
The woman is the best of the totality of the Image of God!
Adam possesses the Unfailing Heart. He possesses all twenty-four ribs. He possesses ribs that cover the Heart (the Spirit) and ribs that cover the lungs (where the breath of the Spirit is distributed). But his other protective and life preserving internal and external features do not allow him to so completely give himself over to a life of shared emotional intimacy with the Holy One, as is the case with the woman.
The woman is the “best of the man” and as such she is the most treasured part of Adonai (His eternal emotional/relational intelligence). Adonai has charged Man with the most sacred duty of protecting and serving the most treasured part of Himself (of HaShem) and that is the most excellent emotional and relational life of the Woman (the Best of Adam).
Reflection #8. The Woman ‘originated’ solely from the ‘most exalted’ of the 24 ribs of Man (the fifth rib). So precious and highly valued is the Divinely appointed role of the woman that man was expected to sacrificially lay down his life in protection of her.
Reflection #10. The Woman did not sin. She was deceived. Her husband, on the other hand, the first Adam did consciously and willfully sin. With full awareness, premeditation, and deliberateness the Man (Adam ben Ha-Elohim) chose to disobey the Holy One, who was His Father.
In his disobedience, Adam, the protector of the woman became devilish. He became the woman’s Accuser.
Our father Adam chose to blame the most cherished, beautiful, and vulnerable part of his being. Man, the woman’s Protector, blamed the protected one for ‘his’ failure. So he deflected all of the blame off of himself onto his wife. He even blamed the heavenly Father!
“The ishah You made from my rib, she seduced me.”
As if to say, none of this is due to my failure it is all due to ‘You’ Adonai Elohim and to the woman ‘Ýou’ gave me. When Adam isolated himself from Adonai and sought to protect only himself, he stripped off the covering of his wife and left her naked. Adam then reversed his role as protector (and Redeemer) and chose to wickedly use the woman as a means of ‘covering himself!’
Adam used his wife as a human shield for himself.
This is the exact ‘opposite’ of what the Last Adam, the Suffering Servant Messiah ben Yosef did. The Mashiach protected us by ‘covering all of us’ and sacrificing Himself (cf. Isaiah 53:7).
וַיֹּאמֶר הָֽאָדָם הָֽאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּה עִמָּדִי הִוא נָֽתְנָה־לִּי מִן־הָעֵץ וָאֹכֵֽל׃
The man said, “The woman (הָֽאִשָּׁה-ha-ishah) whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
So what was the first woman to do? Her protector, the First Adam ben Elohim, who at the first correctly showered her with love and protection, who sheltered her with Paradise, now, at the last, became her “Accuser.”
Adam miserably failed God’s love test. He rejected and abandoned his wife.
Adam split off her treasured “Life” from his own. Adam-Man thereafter assigned his wife a ‘separate’ name and her own separate (subordinated) place. The First Adam failed to atone for the sin of his wife. He failed miserably when he chose to ally himself with the evil one and become His deceived wife’s sinful Accuser instead the woman’s righteous Redeemer. Thereafter:
Adam became estranged both from the source of his life, the Father, and from the most treasured part of his life, his wife.
Therefore, tragically the Unity (echad) was broken (there was no longer Adam ben Elohim, him/her). Adonai Elohim was separated from Man and Man was separated from Woman. Now each led separate lives, each with his and her ‘own’ (separate) name (Elohim, Adam, Eve).
So what was Adonai to do?
His treasure was the man (precious) and woman (most precious) together. They (him-her) came out of His own being. As one Unity they were the Image of the Eternal One. He so enjoyed the crown of His creation (Ish) and the crown of His Unfailing Heart (Ishah). So what was ‘He’ to do? The answer is in the meaning of the Blessing: “May Adonai make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.” (more on this later).