Much (and more) has been writing about Yom Kippur, this “day of Attornment” in an effort to figure out, explain, interpret, rationalize… words and words (and more… beautiful commentary and many wise insights, some of which I plan to use too, and yet, many are left without an answer: What are we doing? How does it make sense? What is this day all about?
We know it as a day to fast – from food and drink, but also bathing, anointing and marital relations. Mostly – it’s intended to be a day to pause from worldly “stuff”, which the sages, sadly, for us, had to put in concrete terms and practical restrictions. I pull out my machzor to prepare. It’s really beautiful and I love much of what’s in it. And yet, if I read through all of this, will that tell me what’s Yom Kippur? Is a day to approach through these words with one’s intellect, or maybe…
And then, a moment:
As background to my unpacking (great activity for erev YK morning 😊), I’m listening to Galgalatz, the Israeli “music and traffic” radio station. On this day, at 4:55pm Israel time, they play a new’ish version of Kol Nidrei. At 5:00pm – they broadcast the “News”, and then, they say, quite nonchalantly: כאן תמו שידורינו – this completes our broadcasting (until after chag).
And then, there is Silence.
Silence with capital S. Silence which rings in my ears as loud as the shofar; as loud the siren on Holocaust Memorial Day and Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day for IDF and Terror Victims; Silence which is piercing and all present, filling the air with great joy and great awe. Silence which calls out, “Shabbat-Shabaton”, this is a Mega-Pause from Everything to recalibrate back to zero, like a spiritual bathtub to dunk in. There are no words for that feeling when we get out a good bath. I listen to that Silence and think to myself, that’s it. This is Yom Kippur.