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Rabbi's Blog

Thoughts and Musings by Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky

The Crescendo

The Crescendo

What is your most meaningful moment of the Holidays? Which element do you most anticipate?

Is it the family time or the delicious tastes at Rosh Hashana dinner? Alone time in the Synagogue? The Rabbi’s sermon? (Not!) The moving blasts of the Shofar?

For me, and I suspect many others, the crescendo of the entire High Holiday experience is at the concluding moments of Yom Kippur, as the entire congregation calls out in one voice “Shema Yisroel… – Hear O Israel: The Lord is our God; the Lord is one.”

It is the single most powerful and well-known Jewish prayer. It is short—just six words—but it encapsulates the very creed of Judaism.

What is it about this prayer that is able to move us to the core, to bring us to tears? What is it about this prayer that reminded Jewish children, hidden in convents during the Holocaust, of their true heritage? What is it that motivates people on their death beds to muster up the strength to say these words after weeks of silence?

Is it merely a feeling of nostalgia? Or is it an arousal of latent Jewishness within each and every one of us?

I believe it’s the latter. Because deep inside every Jew there is a spark just waiting to be ignited, and the Shema serves as the lighter.

This is true all year round, but especially on Yom Kippur, after a day of reflection, prayer and deep connection, that we are able to access our Divine core, more than any other time of year.

This time, let’s take those moments with us to the rest of the year. Let’s make sure to not just say the Shema daily, but to ponder and internalize this powerful prayer. It provides the fire we so desperately need to keep our flame, and that of our family, burning all year round.

K’tiva V’chatima Tova!

Rabbi Yossi and Esty Zaklikofsky 



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