Yom Kippur 5780 - Neilah

It is time to close. In a short while we will conclude our Yom Kippur services for the year 5780 and go back to the routine of the Jewish calendar. This is our last opportunity for joy on this special day. A festival the center of which is a twenty five hour long fast. A day in which we are asked to look inwards so that we can improve ourselves as viewed from the outside. A festival where we give up the consumption of physical food to ingest spiritual food instead.

Its adjournment time. The sun is about to set. Our thoughts may be already wandering to the post-fast hours, building a sukkah, dancing on Simchat Torah. We sign off this day with a spiritual “high”, a victory of the soul over the bodily desires. Still this is not the main thing. What is important is our ability to internalize the messages of the day. Messages of request to search deep in our souls, change where possible, deal with that which needs dealing with, win that which seems to be unwinnable.

We are about to close. We went through a lot during this day. We have compressed into a day a life time. We pondered about sins, talked about opportunities, and begged to change. In each passing moment the light withdraws and darkness progresses, finally announcing that the day is over. I do hope that all of you will feel this spiritual “high” also in these moments, where we will seriously feel the cry for help and the willingness to help, the love and the ability, the truth and justice.

Its Neilah. I will raise my eyes to the mountains. Master of forgiveness. God almighty. Please listen, please forgive. Open my lips. Instill fear. Bestow honor. You chose us. For grace, kindness and mercy. We have transgressed. We have betrayed. We spoke. We thank You. Open a gate. Father and King, pardon and answer. Be gracious and just. Tekiah Gedulah. HaTikvah. It is time to prepare to end this service and together we shall pray the prayers as individuals and as a community. In pure or dry throats but as believers of the importance of a pluralistic Judaism, that embraces, loves and is receptive to all walks of life, here in Netanya and through the entire land.

Time for Neilah. I do hope that you have experienced with us a meaningful fast.

Have a meaningful fast, Shana Tova and Chatima Tova.

Reuven Marko, 9 October 2019, 10 Tishrei, 5780

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