The Message of Yom Kippur is Responsibility

Many of the prayers in the Yom Kippur Machzor are stated in the plural. Let’s take the Vidui (confession) prayer for example: Ashamnu, we have become guilty, Bagadnu, we have betrayed, Gazalnu, we have robbed, Dibarnu Dofi, we have spoken slander…

Rav Moshe Chagiz asks the question: Why do we confess on Yom Kippur for many transgressions that we did not commit? The answer is that “kol Yisrael arevin zeh lazeh” all Jews are responsible for one another. Even if we didn’t commit a specific transgression, we are responsible for those who did. In Bamidbar 5:7, it says in the plural: “they shall confess the transgression that they committed”. The whole rest of that parsha is written in the singular (5:6): “A man or a woman who commits any of man’s transgressions…” (5:7) “He shall make restitution for his guilt…”

We learn from here that if one person commits a transgression, everyone has to confess since we are all responsible for one another.

When other Jews are in danger or in trouble, we can’t sit idly by. We must take action and speak up and say “your problems are our problems”.

This coming week, immediately following Yom Kippur, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be visiting New York.

In his translation of a speech to the "World Without Zionism" conference held for students in October 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is quoted as saying:

“Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front? This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.”

Ahmadinejad is bent on the destruction of the State of Israel. Our brothers and sisters all around the world must not remain silent. Raise your voices now, later may be too late.

Gmar Chatima Tova!