With thoughts focused toward Yom Kippur, our tefillot and our process of teshuvah, there is d'var Torah by the Shem Mishmuel (Sefer Shem Mishmuel, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, translated to English by Rabbi Zvi Belovski, pages 440-441). The thoughts expressed by the Shem Mishmuel seem particularly pertinent this Yom Kippur, with emphasis locally, as well as throughout the Jewish world.
In this d'var Torah, Shem Mishmuel cites Moshe Rabbeinu's final address to the B'nei Yisrael (Devarim, Perek 29, posukim 9-10):
Shem Mishmuel then explains that:
He explains that the ketores (incense) was a component of the daily korbonot (offerings), but that on Yom Kippur it would play a primary role.
The Kohen Gadol took a censer of incense into the Holy of Holies and waited there until the cloud of spices filled the room. This incense contained eleven spices, ten of which were pleasant-smelling, but one of which had a foul odor. We may suggest that the ten sweet-smelling spices corresponded to the ten groups within the Jewish people noted above.
...Ketores, ...is etymologically linked to kesher, which means "connection." The spices were pounded together to make a single compound. This illustrates that each group within Israel must recognize that it has value only as part of a larger entity. When this occurs [the pounding and grinding together into a single compound - MB] , it is possible to add the eleventh, malodorous spice, which represents the bad elements within YIsrael.
Only when these eleven spices are pounded into indistinguishable dust, that is, completely mingled, can they be brought to the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. In the same way, only when everyone, good or bad, acts for a single purpose, nullifying his individuality to the benefit of the community, can the "compound" of the Jewish people be presented to G'd for His scrutiny.
However, if dissonance exists within the various elements of the klal, then the weaker, eleventh group cannot join. Since there is already disharmony among the people, adding the sinful element will not produce a completely unified Yisrael and.... will cause additional strife, as the weaker group will join one side or the other of the rift, strengthening the divide.
...To achieve real unity in the community, a sort of "grinding" of the personality is needed. It is arrogance which leads to disunity, the feeling that one is special and in some way above everyone else. One must pound this arrogance out of one's character to effect the realization that one's whole existence depends on the community.
There is one more citing which amplifies the above. Gemara Mesechta Megillah, page 25a1 (Shottenstein edition) cites Mishnah Perek 4, posuk 9:
One who says [about Hashem - MB]: "Good men shall bless You" -- this is the way of heresy.
The footnote in gemara on this Mishnah reads:
For he does not include the wicked among those who praise G'd, and the Sages teach us (Kereisos 6b) that any public fast that does not include the transgressors of Israel is not accepted, They derive this from the inclusion of galbanum, which emits a foul odor, among the ingredients of the incense offered in the Beit HaMikdash. Similarly, the wicked must be considered as part of the congregation of Israel. (Attributions to Rashi; cf. Ran, Meiri).
For those who have not until now read this author's weekly vort on the Parsha, or who may not be a micro-follower of the news beyond the main headlines, i.e. Israel, the "P.A," and the UN, or the Islamic Spring, there is at least one communiity afflicted with a disharmony, i.e. inflicted by a relative few -- a criminal element of several hundred "Chareidi" imposters who besmirch and distort Chareidi religious tenants in the eyes of fellow observant Jews as well as the non-observant.
This element stones and defames young girls as they (the girls) enter or leave their B'not Orot [which this author has been generically calling a Beis Yaakov} , claiming that this institution is on “their turf”. And because these young girls don't look or dress EXACTLY like them, these kannoi'yim scream "shiksas" and other worse insults at them as well as stoning and physically accosting and attacking them.
To the perpetrators, and to those whose silence denotes acquiescence, some questions must be asked. Is this what Hashem wants? To those who have a distorted, demented understanding of Chareidi standards of Ts'niyut:
Do even one of you have the intellectual capability, the capacity to equate the components of the ketores, and what it expresses, with the matzav at hand? To accept that even though other sectors may not meet certain standards, and may represent to you -- the galbanum, that WE ARE STILL AND ALL JEWS?
There is a lot of atonement to do -- toward these young anguished girls who have a sacred and unalienable right to attend their school, built in a place which is not even Chareidi in constituency, as well as a long-overdue covenant of mechila for the business-as-usual silent acquiescence toward the expulsion 6 years ago of the former Gush Katif residents.
May we pour our hearts out to Hashem on Yom Kippur with purity, complete unity and deep sincerity leaving “nothing in the lockerroom” on a national level as well as individuals.
May Hashem grant us a happy, healthy and sweet new year, a new year where a Jewish governance of national pride and self-image replaces the current shameful state of Israeli governance. As Rabbi Moshe Ungar would always say before a fast, back in Philly -- back in the “old country”, “Daven hard, fast easy” — Tefillah Kasher V’Tzom Kal!
But as we daven, we need all keep in mind the the words of this golden oldie: