Strength, Not Weakness, As We Enter This New Year
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As we go into the Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement Holiday, I wish you all to gain strength during this time. Do not go into the holiday thinking you and the nation of Israel are weak. G-d loves us so much, and He has given us this holiday to reach deep inside ourselves, to repent, ask for forgiveness, and to pull out the strength and desire to win our inner and outer battles. Yom Kippur is a day not only of atonement, but of strengthening our commitment to live for G-d and to observe His Torah. It is a day of strengthening our commitment to change ourselves to be better.
It is with this hope that I say to us all, that we pray deeply to find that super-human strength inside of us, to turn from our evil ways, turn from the roads that chase after materialistic acquirements and move us in a direction away from the Holy One Blessed Be He. May we take the more simpler and truthful road towards being close with G-d and make this world a better and safer place by living by His will.
Each of us were given talents and an enormous potential to do good and make a difference in the world, when we were born. Let us find those talents and strengths and sincerely use and direct them to do good, not feed our trivial and mundane pursuits. G-d wants us to be kind, be decent, and be moral. On a larger scale, that morality flows over into ensuring justice in this world so that all mankind, all our brothers and sisters (we all stem from Noah, and before that, from Adam and Eve) can live safely and peacefully. Courts of law must be set up so people can find justice when they have been wronged or victimized. It is our responsibility to ourselves and our children.
They come with chariots and horses, but we come with the Name of G-d
In this period of history, we see many frightening things happening. The devastating financial crisis on a global level, crime, violence, perversity, and wars. There are nations today who are intolerant and want to wage war using terrorists, rockets and even nuclear weapons on freedom loving people. They perpetrate crimes against humanity, and it is our responsibility to find the strength and put a stop to this evil.
This Yom Kippur, as we stand in synagogue in fasting and prayer for this next year, let us not look to presidents, friends or allies to protect us. Let us take our eyes away from the White House, the International Community, or the Knesset to save us. Instead, let us look UP. To the only ONE, the Master of the Universe, the only one who we can trust in, the only one who has, and can, save us.
May we gird ourselves with the knowledge and strength that G-d is there, if only we call upon Him, and may we not feel defeatism. May we gird ourselves with trust, not fear. Truth, not convenient lies. May we appoint G-d, the KING of all kings, over us. And may we walk in righteousness to do His will, bring justice to this world, and improve our ways on the personal and more general levels.
There are nations today with powerful militaries. They posses many soldiers, many tanks, many missiles and nuclear weapons, and they wish to destroy us. But we, the tiny nation of Israel, will chant this verse that our own King David wrote for us in times like these:
Psalm 20:8 "They come with chariots and horses, but we come with the Name of G-d..."
We are living in tiny Israel, surrounded in a sea of Arab Muslim states who gnash their teeth in wait to destroy us. But G-d holds an umbrella of strength over us, if we just look up. And so, when we have to go to battle our enemies, we shall remember, we come with the name of G-d, or more literally, "These with chariots and these with horses, but in the name of Hashem, our G-d, we call out. They dropped to their knees and fell, but we AROSE and were invigorated!" (Psalm 20:8)
May we go from strength to strength! Wishing you all a year full of blessings for all good things, and finding that inner strength and trust in G-d to merit it.
G'mar chatima tova! -May you be inscribed for a good year!