A Torah thought as we approach the Yamim Noraim

post by Hillel Torah | Sep 24, 2020

Dear Friends,

What is taking place at Hillel Torah right now is nothing short of incredible. We are so grateful to be back in school, in person. Seeing children playing and enjoying being together (with masks and socially distant of course) and the voices of Torah and tefillah filling the classrooms and hallways has been an inspiration that has uplifted us all. Thank you to our superhero teachers and leadership team who continue to go above and beyond and to our parents, grandparents, friends, and generous donors for your ongoing support and partnership.

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a Torah thought with you as we approach the Yamim Noraim.

Living in an age when we are used to having so much control over every aspect of our lives, this year we have been confronted with a pandemic that has stripped us of this control and has left us feeling adrift and uncertain. Every day is a challenge as we struggle to hold onto the roller coaster that has become our lives.

What message and guidance can the Yamim Noraim provide for us this year to help us regain our footing?

The centerpiece of the selichot, which we begin saying before Rosh Hashana, and continue saying through the Neila prayer of Yom Kippur, is where Hashem teaches us His thirteen attributes of mercy, the י”ג מדות הרחמים.

Why is this the central theme that carries us through these Yamim Noraim, these Days of Awe?

While this time is certainly a time of judgment, it is Hashem’s forgiveness and mercy for which we are all yearning. How do we achieve this forgiveness and become worthy of Hashem’s compassion?

The answer is: by taking a step toward showing compassion to others. While at times it may seem as if we have lost control, that is not the complete story. A simple act of showing compassion for, taking interest in and being patient with another – even if that “other” is ourselves! – is an act of imitating God and one that makes us more worthy to receive His compassion and support during the challenging days and weeks ahead.

Wishing you and your families a Ketiva V’Chaitma Tova and a safe, healthy, and happy year ahead. Shana Tova!

Rabbi Menachem Linzer, Principal