Thursday, April 06, 2006


About twenty years ago, I was officiating at Yom Kippur Mussaf services when I had a radical idea. I went over to the Shamash, a wise (but cynical) Hungarian rov, and told him that before Tiskabel Kaddish I was going to bang on the Almemar and announce that lunch would be served in the next room. 'Are you crazy?' he asked incredulously. 'It's Yom Kippur!' 'I know,' I replied. 'But so many people seem so self-satisfied, so far from the idea that religious people really sin, that it's really not necessary for them to fast for more than half a day.'

I thought of that story when I read this. וכל העם יראו וייראו.

Added Note:

There was a lot of misinformation about R. Re'em HaKohen's observations about said rabbi. The papers noted that he compared his election to an Ashera, but were clueless as to what that meant. (Of course, given the abysmal ignorance of so many reporters of Western culture, and a fortiori, Judaism that was to be expected.) Obviously, R. HaKohen was referring to this Gemora (Sanhedrin 7b): 'Resh Lakish said: He who appoints an incompetent judge over the Community is as though he had planted an Asherah in Israel, for it is written: Judges and officers shalt thou appoint unto thee, and soon after it is said: Thou shalt not plant thee Asherah of any kind of tree next to the altar of God' (Deut. XVI. 18-19).

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