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Rabbi's Blog

Thoughts and Musings by Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky

High Holidays 2012

How will you deal with your “Moment”?

It was last year on Yom Kippur morning, when a man named Michael entered ‘The Shul’ of Bellaire. I greeted him and we chatted briefly. He mentioned that he hadn’t been in synagogue on Yom Kippur for 15 years!

I was intrigued: “What would prompt a Jew to break this sort of record?”

Not knowing the next time Michael would be back, I called him up to the Torah, for an Aliya. While reciting the blessing: “Asher Bachar Banu” Michael became visibly emotional – choking up with tears. ‘Wait one second’ I thought, ‘How does one explain this phenomenon? Shouldn’t a Jew, who hasn’t been to Shul for 15 years, feel out of place and distant in this environment? Where does this warmth and emotion come from?’

Then I had a real sweet “AHA” moment: “Herein lies the power of the Jewish soul”.

The High Holidays offer each Jew the opportunity to come home and feel at home. A child may have become estranged from his parents, sometimes even for years, but eventually will find his way back home. Home for the Jew never changes. No matter how much time has passed, G-d is our father, and he’ll always be there, to welcome his children home.

It is truly amazing!

A Jew could walk into Shul on Yom Kippur. 15 years may have passed since his last visit. Yet remarkably, he plugs right into the moment! Somehow he senses G-d’s fatherly embrace and greeting: “Welcome home my Son!”

The presence and prayers of the Jew who comes to Synagogue on Yom Kippur, are infinitely cherished by G-d. This is the Jew who finds his ‘comfort’ elsewhere during the year. But as Yom Kippur approaches, this Jew becomes unsettled with his or her reality (consciously or subconsciously), and feels the urge to return home, to family, and go to Shul.

This voice from within – of wanting to return home, flows from the deepest elements of our soul. Often, this voice is muffled and masked by the constant distractions of our hectic lives. Yet, there are occasions when this voice refuses to be silenced. Every Jew is familiar with moments of awakening. At these times, the essence of who we are bursts forth to the center of our awareness, and we realize – it’s time to go home!

Yes, Michael has come back to 'The Shul' since. He tuned in to his ‘moment’ and absorbed it’s amazing power – the power of the Jewish soul.

Friends, who knows? We too, may experience a ‘Moment’ in Shul this year. Perhaps it will be caused by the soul stirring blasts of the Shofar, or the sincere sounds of ‘Avinu Malkainu’.  Let us tap into this awesome opportunity and unleash the potent energy of our souls, so that it flows into our lives, with enough inspiration to last for the upcoming year.

With blessings for a Happy and Sweet New Year,

Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky

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