By the Grace of G-d
Erev Shabbos Kodesh
Sedra: "You are standing firmly
this day, all of you,"
Shabbos Selichos, 5745
To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere,
G-d bless you all!
Greeting and Blessing:
. . .
The innermost aspect of Yom Kippur is that this day has been designated as The Holy Day and the "One Day," of the Year. This means that this day is the holiest day of the days of the year, including the festivals and Shabbos. For this reason, Yom Kippur is called in the Torah . . . the "Supreme Shabbos." On this day Jews attain the highest level of spirituality, so that they are likened to angels.
Yet, having attained this sublime spiritual level, the Jew is instructed, immediately on Motzoei (termination of) Yom Kippur, to make a "sumptuous meal," and "A Heavenly voice issues and proclaims, 'Go and eat with joy!'"
Similarly, on Yom Kippur itself, when the service is connected with the very essence of the soul, the Yechida she'bnefesh, and, to quote a familiar expression, "It is the time of Teshuva for all," etc., and, "The highpoint of Divine forgiveness and pardon for the Jewish people"--one would have expected that concentration on the prayers with the fullest inspiration of all the soul's forces, etc., would take precedence of all other imperatives of Yom Kippur. Actually, however, the rule of the Halocho is that if the said concentration creates a doubt, G-d forbid, as to the ability to fast, the fasting takes precedence over the concentration on the prayers. To put it more explicitly: Notwithstanding the highest spiritual content of Yom Kippur, the emphasis, in practice, is on a seemingly corporeal matter (the not eating and not drinking) even though this would detract from the fullest concentration ability to attain the highest degree of introspection, dvekus (soulful attachment), inspiration, and overpowering devoutness during prayer on Yom Kippur.
. . .
The explanation . . .
The true holy nature of a Jew--of everyone who belongs to the "Holy Nation," is in being attached to the holiness of HaShem, in accordance with the Divine commandment: "You shall sanctify yourselves and be holy, for I (HaShem) am holy."
To "sanctify oneself and be holy" means to conduct one's daily life in accordance with the holy precepts of HaShem ("Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us"). Thereby the physical body, together with all its physical aspects (eating, drinking, etc.) is elevated and sanctified. At the same time, all other sectors of the physical world (inanimate, vegetable and animal) that serve the Jew's needs, are elevated with him.
The said sublimation, to the point of the highest and fullest degree, on the holy day of Yom Kippur, the "One Day of the Year," is achieved through the worship of the Yechida she'bnefesh, the sublimest part of the soul present in every Jew by virtue of belonging to the people whom G-d has chosen and designated to be a Holy Nation which partakes of His holiness.
For this reason, the matter of not eating and not drinking on Yom Kippur is particularly accentuated, inasmuch as eating and drinking is the most conspicuous characteristic of every living thing on earth; hence, the denial of eating and drinking on Yom Kippur is the expression of the preponderance of spirituality over corporeality, of the soul over the body --since only in this way can the material be elevated to, and even transformed into, the realm of spirituality.
. . .
May HaShem grant that every one of us, man and woman, in the midst of all our people, should complete the preparation for Rosh Hashono and Yom Kippur in fullness and perfection in every respect. In the words of the Baal Shem Tov: "Be tomim (complete) in serving HaShem,"
. . .
With esteem and blessing for a
Kesivo vaChasimo Tovo, for a good
and sweet year, materially and spiritually,
in the good that is revealed and evident,
/Signed: Menachem Schneerson/
-- From: To the Sons and Daughters of Our People Israel, Everywhere: Letters by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the Jewish Festivals.