Thursday, October 6, 2011

Extra Erev Yom Kippur Chizuk - The R' Frand Teshuva Derasha Vol I

Tonight, our local shul played the R' Frand Teshuva Derasha which was recorded on Tuesday night in Brooklyn. I will attempt to summarize the derasha in two posts, but cannot hope to replicate R' Frand's powerful delivery. Same rules as usual apply - I have attempted to reproduce the derasha to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand noted that some years his teshuva derashos are influenced by world events. He gave the example of the shiur that he and perhaps all Rabbanim gave after 9/11/01. He also made reference to the shiur that he gave in 2008 after the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers. This year, two events influenced his thinking on Teshuva - the tragic Jew on Jew killing of Leiby Kletzky and R' Abuchatzeira in Israel. R' Frand said that he never thought he would need to speak about murder before Yom Kippur, but the situations demanded it.

R' Frand said that if the audience thought that he was going to explain why these tragic events occurred they are sadly mistaken. He stated that he is not a prophet and has not been given insight into these events.

Before reaching the actual issues, R' Frand asked -- why does the service on Yom Kippur start with Kol Nidrei? This is a technical tefilla that merely annuls vows. Furthermore, we do hataras nedarim on erev Rosh Hashana and it is not moving at all. Yet on Yom Kippur when the chazan says Kol Nidrei, a shiver runs down R' Frand's back. But why do we start with this tefilla?

A second question R' Frand asked was - why does the end of Kol Nidrei have the sentence "V'nislach l'chol adas b'nei yisroel ..." This sentence is written in the Torah about a community where everyone accidentally worships avodah zarah as directed by Beis Din. This scenario never actually happended ever. So why is it part of the davening on Yom Kippur?

R' Frand answered the question by making reference to the Tollner Rebbi who says that Yom Kippur is about becoming one group, one nation. This does not come solely from tefilla, it must be a communal feeling for all of us. This comes on a day when we divorce ourselves from the physical - we are all hungry, we are all thirsty, all our feet hurt, and we are all together as one group. R' Frand cited the Rokeach who states that we are like angels on Yom Kippur - there is no physical comfort because it is about our souls which all come from the same place and are all the same.

R' Frand remarked that this coming together as one group happened during the time that Leiby Kletzky went missing. Jews came together from many locations, from many backgrounds to look for the boy. Why? Because we were all parents or the children of parents, united by the goal of trying to avert tragedy, without caring about the external trappings of the person who was searching with you.

R' Frand cited the Tollner Rebbi as saying this is why we start Yom Kippur with Kol Nidrei - because we should not come into Yom Kippur thinking that we are better than other people in the tzibur. We are all the same. This is why the chazan begins with the phrase - al da'as hamakom - that we are all praying together, even with people who we would not normally associate during the year. Once we are a group we can get kapparah, because it is for the entire kahal.

R' Frand explained that with this mindset we can understand a medrash on the pasuk in Acharei Mos which described Aharon's coming in to do the avodah. The pasuk states - b'zos yavo Aharaon el Hakodesh - with "this" Aharon came in to the Kodesh. What is the "zos"? The medrash states that there were four "zos": (1) the z'chus of the Torah for which it says - V'zos HaTorah; (2) the z'chus of Bris Mila as it is written "v'zos brisi"; (3) the z'chus of Shabbos about which it is written "Ashrei Enosh Ya'aseh zos" and (4) the z'chus of Yerushalayim as it says "v'zos Yerushalayim."

R' Frand stated that he understands the first three zchusim which come from the "zos" of Torah, Bris Milla and Shabbos. These are zchusim which understandably should stand in Aharon's corner. But why Yerushalayim?

R' Frand answered the question by making reference to the Yerushalami in Chagiga that says that Yerushalayim is a city that joins everyone together. How? Because all year long a chaver (one who strictly adheres to the rules of tumah/tahara) cannot eat off the same plate as one who is an am ha'aretz. However, during the Shalosh Regalim when Jews all come up to Yerushalayim, everyone can eat off everyone else's plate because we accept all Jews. This joining together was the z'chus that Aharon got from Yerushalayim on Yom Kippur.

I hope I'YH to complete the summary of the derasha in tomorrow's post.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

1 comment:

Yaakov said...

I saw something similar in the Rav Soloveitchik machzor in chazras hashatz musaf in the avoda we say A day of instituting love and friendship Rav Soloveitchik says the atonement of Yom Kippur is a communal 1 in order to get it though there can be no barriers only achdus