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Straight From the Heart

Rochel Gross

Chazal tell us that the Satan has permission to speak badly about us on every single day of the year, besides for one — Yom Kippur. In fact, the numerical value of the word “HaSatan” (the Satan) is 364 — that’s 365 (days in a year) — minus one. That’s why we spend most of the day davening on Yom Kippur — with no one to impede us, we know that our heartfelt tefillos will go straight to the Heavenly throne. Let’s take a close-up look at some of the Yom Kippur tefillos.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

siddurAl Daas HaMakom

Before Kol Nidrei, we make a short, but interesting statement, in which we give permission for sinners to daven with the rest of the kehillah. Who are these sinners, and what is the meaning of this statement?

This piece made its way into the Yom Kippur machzor during the era of the Spanish Inquisition, when many Jews became Marranos to avoid execution — outwardly they practiced Christianity, but in their hearts they were believing Jews, observing Judaism in their cellars. On Yom Kippur, they risked their lives and gathered to daven in hidden locations. Before Kol Nidrei, “permission” was granted to these “sinners” who looked and lived like non-Jews, to daven with the rest of the community.

That era has thankfully passed. So why do we still say this tefillah? Because there are still sinners amongst us, unfortunately, and this could affect the tefillos of the tzaddikim. By granting them permission to join the tefillos, we hope they will do teshuvah and our tefillos will be pure.

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