Yom Kippur's Over - Now What?
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1335  
In Today's Issue
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Torah: Yom Kippur's Over - Now What?
Torah: Breaking vs. Refining
Practical Tips: Thoughts from the Heart
Torah: Falling is a sign of a falling Yetzer Hora
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This Yom Kippur, I realized that I was not nearly as annoyed with everyone in shul as I had been in previous years. I think that this is an accomplishment of my step work, therapy, and real effort on my part. I found the picture below particularly telling in this context.


Yom Kippur's Over - Now What?
By Duvid Chaim

Chevra, How many of you are asking yourself this question?

After all, we just completed 40 Days of Teshuva; first kicking off the process of "return" at the beginning of Elul, followed by the humbling experience of Coronating the King at Rosh Hashana, and then wrapping up the "10 Days" with Yom Kippur - achieving levels of praying, crying, fasting and personal introspection like no other time of the year. If there's any time of the year that we're going to "feel like an Angel" then it's now.

But if you're like me, your asking yourself, "How am I going to stay on this lofty level now that Yom Kippur is over? Can I just head back into my day to day routines, whether at work, at home or in my community and not expect to be confronted with my "struggles"? Certainly, they'll be people out there or situations that arise that upset me or make me worried. Or maybe I'll catch a glimpse of something attractive on the street, on the internet or out there that will be like a "tractor beam" - and I'll be sucked into this pit of the old familiar way of behaving".

"Who am I fooling after all? Yes, I wore white all Yom Kippur and I overcame my thirst and hunger and I told G-d that I regret my sins and told Him that I didn't want to do them again. But how can I expect G-d to believe me if I don't even believe myself???"

The answer to this dilemma came to me totally out of the blue in one of my A&W moments ("Awe & Wonder moments" are moments where we try to see Hashem in our life), first thing this morning, when I was quietly learning by myself in the Beis Medrash and suddenly in walks a man who rarely davens by my Shul. And since he is also a doctor, I don't think I've ever seen him come sit and learn in the morning.

But I could tell he wanted to share something with me when he approached and said he wanted to show me what he had just read in Ramchal's Mesillas Yesharim on the second page of the chapter on "Watchfulness". The Ramchal points out that one of the Yetzer Hara's most clever weapons against us is to keep us too busy. That's it, and it's that simple! The Ramchal quotes Shmos 5:9 where Pharoah said, "Intensify the men's labors"... His intention was not to merely deprive them of all leisure so that they wouldn't oppose him, but he strove to strip their hearts..."

The Ramchal is teaching us that the way that the Yetzer knocks us off our lofty platform; especially after a Yom Kippur, is to push us right back in the "real world" with all of its pressures and demands. The phone is ringing, the mail needs to be opened, the emails are piling up - everyone needs our attention and they need it now. It's no wonder we fall so quickly from our angelic high! Who's got time to think about how far we've come in the past 40 days? Who's got time to daven the first Shachris on Tuesday at a pace that we enjoyed just the day before? Who's got time to feel today? I'M TOO BUSY TO FEEL. Leave me alone so I can fix the World - after all, it can't survive without me!

And there it is - THE TRAP - Just stay busy!

You can imagine how fortunate I felt getting this message from someone who is practically a stranger and at such an appropriate time. It didn't come to me for no reason.

So, Chevra, my goal is to know my enemy - the Yetzer Hara - and not let him trap me in his web - to not let him break my Connection with Hashem - to not let him bury myself underneath layers and layers of daily pressures. Instead, I'm going to outsmart him by simply Pausing, yes just pausing as often as possible today, to look around and appreciate the wonders of the world and of my unique and special life. I'm going to just appreciate all of my blessings; health, livelihood, family and Torah. And by pausing, I'm going to feel... and I'm going to stay connected... connected to family, friends, and most importantly to the Source of all Good.

And now I know what to do after Yom Kippur.

Shana Tova,

Duvid Chaim

Breaking vs. Refining
By the.guard

I noticed a very interesting thing in one of the Yom Kipppur Piyutim we say tonight.

"We are like raw material in the hands of the creator... When he wants, he makes the vessel big, and when he wants, he makes it shorter (than normal)".

"We are like stones in the hands of the builder... When he wants, he carves them properly, and when he wants, he breaks them".

And so the Piyut goes on, first citing how the creator / builder / artist / captain, etc. (parable for Hashem) sometimes creates the vessel properly, and then citing how he can also break it / separate it from the fire / let go of the wheel / ruin it, etc...

The obvious question is, WHY WOULD HASHEM DO THAT? If our hearts are truly in His hands - as the Piyut suggests, why does he sometimes break us / let go of us / remove us from the fire, etc??

The answer lies in the LAST section of the Piyut. In the first 6 out of 7 sections, the good is always mentioned first, and then the bad is mentioned. But in the last part, the the order is suddenly switched around:

"We are like silver in the hands of a silversmith... We he wants, he leaves it unrefined (with impurities), and we he wants he REFINES it (in the fire).

In this last part, the BAD is mentioned first (unrefined), and the GOOD is mentioned last.

This is amazing! The author of this Piyut is telling us that all the times that we think Hashem is "letting go of the wheel" or "taking us away from the light" or "breaking us", etc.. it's really all to REFINE us, to PURIFY us and to help us use the experience of being thrown FAR from Hashem in order to make the effort to get CLOSE to Him.

The Piyut is telling us that all the seemingly "good" things (mentioned above) may leave us UNREFINED. If Hashem would always steer us on the straight path, always keep us "in the light", we would remain unrefined, with all our character defaults... At the end of the day, all our falls and struggles are really there to REFINE us.

So, as we do Teshuvah this Yom Kippur for all our shortcomings and falls, let us remember that Hashem is ultimately the one who ALLOWED us to fall in the first place. And he did this for ONE REASON ONLY: For days like today; for days like Yom Kippur. So that we can REFINE ourselves by GETTING BACK UP, by feeling the pain of being cut off from the LIGHT of our souls, and by using the darkness as a way to appreciate the LIGHT.

The falls of the whole year were not just mistakes that "happened". They serve the purpose of refining us, and instilling the holy day of Yom Kippur with SO MUCH MORE MEANING.

Because when we finally merit to truly FEEL the difference between light and darkness, it is at that point that we will be truly REFINED.

Practical Tips
Thoughts from the Heart
By Steve

Dear GYE Family,

I hope everyone had an easy fast and a meaningful and uplifting Yom Kippur. Now as we move from the Yemei HaDin (which were also Yemei HaSimcha) into the days of Z'man Simchaseinu, I'd like to share a few thoughts with the chevra, which have special significance in our personal shared struggles with sobriety and lust.

Read article
Falling is a sign of a falling Yetzer Hora
By Mevakesh

Mevakesh Hashem posted on the forum:

We have to realize that if and when you fall occasionally, IT SHOULD NOT GET YOU DOWN!!! The very fact that the falling makes you feel bad and guilty shows how high you have climbed! That same "falling" was everyday happening in the "old you" and you didn't give it a second thought!

Snax posted on the forum:

I came across a Tosfos Yom Tov in Avos which I would like to share with you. One of the miracles that occurred during the time of the Bais Hamikdash was that the Kohen Godel never had to be replaced by a different Kohen during Yom Kippur because he became a Baal Keri. The question is, that since the Kohen was placed in a special room seven days before Yom Kippur where he would be B'Keduasha Ub'Tahara as seen in Meseches Yuma, then why should he become a Baal Keri? On this the Tosfos Yom Tov (B'shem Midrash Shmuel) answers that the Yetzer Tov and the Yetzer Hora are fighting a big battle and when the Yetzer Hora sees he's losing, he strengthens himself with all his might and could bring the Kohen to become a Baal Keri. And he brings as an example, just as we see that many dying men, right before they die they strengthen themselves and start talking as healthy men...

From this we see that falling is a sign of a falling Yetzer Hora and a strong you/us.

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