Jewish Calendar - TISHREI - Yom Kippur

Author and folklorist Shalom Ansky (Solomon Zainwil Rapaport; 1863-1920) brought to Yiddish literature a deep appreciation of Jewish folk values. He headed an ethnographic expedition through the villages of Volnynia and Podolia from 1911-1914, and the material he collected inspired his famous play The Dybbuk (1922). Written originally in both Russian and Yiddish, and later translated into Hebrew by H.N. Bialik, The Dybbuk is the story of ill-fated lovers, wandering spirits andmiracle-working rabbis.

The following is a discourse from the play by Reb Azrielke.

God's world is great and holy. The holiest land in the world is the Land of Israel. In the Land of Israel the holiest city is Jerusalem. In Jerusalem the holiest place was the Temple, and in the Temple the holiest spot was the holy of holies. (Brief pause.) There are seventy peoples in the world. The holiest among these is the people of Israel. The holiest of the people of Israel is the tribe of Levi. In the tribe of Levi the holiest are the priests. Among the priests the holiest was the high priest. (Brief pause.)

There are 354 days in the year. Among these the holidays are holy. Higher than these is the holiness of the Sabbath. Among the Sabbaths, the holiest is the Day of Atonement, the Sabbath of Sabbaths. (Brief pause.) There are seventy languages in the world. The holiest is Hebrew. Holier than all else in this language is the holy Torah, and in the Torah the holiest part is the Ten Commandments. In the Ten Commandments the holiest of all words is the Name of God. (Brief pause.)

Photograph from production of The Dybbuk

And once during the year, at a certain hour, these four supreme sanctities of the world were joined with one another. That was on the Day of Atonement, when the high priest would enter the holy of holies and there utter the Name of God. And because this hour was beyond measure holy and awesome, it was the time of utmost peril not only for the high priest, but for the whole of Israel. For if in this hour there had, God forbid, entered the mind of the high priest a false or sinful thought, the entire world would have been destroyed. (Pause.) Every spot where a man raises his eyes to heaven is a holy of holies.

Every man, having been created by God in His own image and likeness, is a high priest. Every day of a man's life is a Day of Atonement, and every word that a man speaks with sincerity is the Name of the Lord. Therefore it is that every sin and every wrong that a man commits brings the destruction of the world.


From: S . Ansky, "The Dybbuk," The Dybbuk and Other Great Yiddish Plays, transl and ed. By Joseph C. Landis, Bantam Books (New York, 1966), pp. 51-52.
related About the play The Dybbuk by S. Ansky

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