Collective Yom Kippur

I’m still on a spiritual high from Yom Kippur, which happens to be my favorite holiday of the whole year (no joke). I love the solemnity, the songs, spending the day immersed in prayer, and the wonderful feeling of knowing (hoping?) at the end of the day that Gd has looked into each of my actions and has forgiven them.

Something hit me this year towards the end of Neilah, the final prayer in the day of prayer that is Yom Kippur. I’ve always found this to be an incredibly moving time. The congregation will plead and scream these words, aware that this is their last chance for their prayers to reach Gd.

The men in our yeshiva were passionately screaming out the final prayers and I realized that the Beis Medresh window was open and that anyone passing outside would certainly hear the tumult. Then it occurred to me that no one would think this strange, as this is Israel and the land is dotted with synagogues of all sizes that, as the sun was setting on Yom Kippur, would also be in the midst of their Neilah prayers too.

For a moment I imagined these powerful prayers ascending with passion at that moment from all the shuls in Israel and felt a palpable confidence that with an entire nation speaking to Him, pleading with Him, Gd would surely respond.