October 8, 2019, 9 Tishrei, 5780, Israel
In Israel we are just hours away from the start of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. We shall sit in the synagogue all day, without food or water, and ask..this year, who shall live and who shall die, who shall suffer and who shall prosper.
We think back upon the year that was, with all its mistakes, and we look towards the year to come, with hope.
Passover is at a different time of year, the Festival of the Spring. During the Passover meal we eat wonderful food and drink wine. So what do Passover and Yom Kippur have in common?
The thought just occurred to me; no man shall be left behind.
I am in Brooklyn, the year is 1986, I am new, alone. A man named Jeff spots me and he invites me to his home for the Sabbath meal. With me are others; divorced, single, converts, widows. Jeff has invited them all in. This is our tradition. No one shall be left behind.
On Passover eve we say in Aramaic, Kol dichfin yete we yechol, kol dizrich yete we yifasach, all that need should come and eat, all that need should come in and join us. No Jew is alone for Passover.
On Yom Kippur, during the opening prayer, the leader says...we ask permission, we allow the community, to pray with the transgressors...
What he means is the prayer is not complete unless all are included, the righteous, the average, and the transgressors. Thus both Passover and Yom Kippur have the message; our doors are open to everyone.
We humbly are about to enter Yom Kippur, meekly asking God to forgive our inadequacies. In our style of Krav Maga we use the same approach; we are open to all, the uncoordinated, the weak, the out of shape, the old. We are inclusive. So this is our Krav Maga message, but it is also a message for our daily lives.
Let no one be left alone, let no child go hungry, let no widow be forgotten.
With the acceptance of Heaven, with the acceptance of the community, the yeshiva of heaven, the Yeshiva of earth (the study hall), we permit the prayer with the inclusion of the transgressors.
This prayer was added by the great Rabbi Meir son of Baruch from Rotenburg, Ashkenaz, in the early 1200s. It has now spread to all the Jewish communities.
As we enter Yom Kippur, we remember...those who need help, those who need a smile, those who need a kind word, and those who have passed on.
Remember the door to heaven is always open, and our door must be open as well.