Yom Kippur Stories

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29 Jun 2006
Yom Kippur

An Interesting Halachic Ruling

One Yom Kippur, the gabbai (synagogue beadle) told Rabbi Chaim Sanzer that a certain congregant, wealthy and miserly, had fainted from the fast and needed some water.

Rabbi Sanzer said that he could have only spoonful of water.

A few minutes later, the gabbai returned, saying the water had helped but that the congregant had fainted again. The congregant said he needed a little more water.

Yom Kippur MachzorThe Rabbi responded that he could have as much water as he liked but that he would have to give 100 dollars to charity for each spoonful of water. Though the gabbai was surprised at this ruling, the Rabbi insisted. When the revived congregant heard the Rabbi’s new ruling, he suddenly was no longer thirsty and continued davening without the need of more water.

Who’s Hitting Who?

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen, was expounding the customs of Yom Kippur. Referring to the practice of beating one’s heart when reciting the confession of sins, he explained: G-d does not forgive those who smite their heart but he pardons those whose heart smites them for the sins they committed.

Last Minute Redemption

On the eve of Yom Kippur, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik of Brisk was told that a wealthy congregant had gone bankrupt and was being held in the debtors’ prison until he would pay five thousand rubles.

That evening when the Kol Nidrei was to be said, Rabbi Soloveitchik addressed the congregation. “Jews, compassionate children of compassionate parents, I have decided that Kol Nidre will not be said until our more affluent congregants will pledge to provide five thousand rubles so we can liberate our bankrupt fellow congregant from prison right after Yom Kippur. Only after the five thousand rubles were collected did Rabbi Soloveitchik permit the saying of Kol Nidrei.