Yom Kippur

At the end of the last volume of the collection Ohel Yaakov of the Maggid’s teachings related to the weekly parshios, the compiler of the collection, Rav Avraham Beirush Flamm, appended a series of essays on the Yamim Noraim. Rav Flamm states that he composed these essays himself, while incorporating parables and teachings of the Maggid that he did not have the chance to include in Ohel Yaakov itself. Below I present one selection from these essays, based on a parable that I surmise is the Maggid’s, although it is not explicitly identified as such.
The parable concerns a man who had a son who was a chronic drunk. The father would constantly find his son wallowing in the streets and the garbage heaps. Whenever he found him in this state, he would carry him home, remove his filthy clothes, dress him in clean clothes, and lay him down in bed so that he could sleep off the effect of the alcohol. But when the son woke up and gained a bit of alertness, he would immediately run back to the bar and start drinking again. The father was overcome with anguish, and worried constantly over what to do with his son. An astute acquaintance told him: “The way you are dealing with your son, you are getting nowhere. After you drag him home, you change his clothes and put him in bed. And when he wakes up, he finds no trace of the disgusting state he was in. So instead, when you take him home, you should put in bed with his filthy clothes, and then when he wakes up he will see how filthy and disgusting he is. And then he will be loath to put himself in such a state again.”
The parallel is as follows. Throughout the year, the evil inclination puts us in a stupor and keeps after us constantly so that we cannot get sober. We wallow in the dirt, going from one sin to another. The evil inclination does not give us even a brief moment to arouse ourselves and reflect on our sorry state. On Yom Kippur, however, the evil inclination loses its power. We can then open our eyes and see how we have become soiled with ugly and abominable deeds, just like a drunk covered with filth. And then we are struck with terror, and our hearts are stirred to repentance.
G’mar chasimah tovah!
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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