Yom Kippur ended only a few hours ago. I don´t have any photos to show you from this most amazing day (since I keep Shabbat, Yom Tov and obviously Yom Kippur, I among other things don´t use a camera on days like that), but my head is full of fresh mental pictures of quiet car-free streets full of pedestrians and biking children in the middle of the streets. And we all greet each other – Gmar Chatima Tova! – May your name be written in the book of life! Tell me, where else does this type of thing happen??
Fresh in my mind is the experience of walking around the neighborhood watching my two dear children on their skateboard and scooter down the street ahead of me, while in my heart praying with the rest of our people – Almighty God, please save us! Have mercy on us! Please bring us Life! Please bring us Your Revelation! Then a few hours later, standing in the middle of a huge crowd at the Western Wall, singing with all those around me: Avinu Malkeinu, ase imanu tzdaka ve chesed… ve hoshieinu! – Our Father, Our King, show us mercy and grace… and save us! It all reached it´s top with the great shofar-blows at the end, and you feel yourself overwhelmed with relief, much like if you just finished a marathon… We did it! Baruch Ata Shehechianu…
Considering that Yom Kippur is a strict fast day, it may not be thought of as such a joyful day, but Rabbi Riskin reminded me that it actually is, if you just stop to think about what happens on this day… – Our whole people takes a break and turns towards God and beg Him for forgiveness and salvation! And He forgives us! What greater reason for joy is there?!
So when I titled this, from joy to joy, Yom Kippur is one of the joys. The next one that we move straight on to, is the building of the sukah! After we have gotten some food and not the least drink in our bodies, we start building our sukahs, – and we can hear the neighbors doing the very same thing! (I´m telling you, there is no place like Yerushalayim!) We just put up the walls and part of the roof tonight, and will add more roof and decorations during the next coming days. So the joy just gets bigger and bigger! And then we move out there Sunday night, for our yearly Sukkot-Camping! These are good times! Life is so good!
Chag sameach to you all! Enter into the JOY!