By Five Towns Marriage Initiative
In instituting Yom Kippur, Hashem tells Moshe, “V’inisem es nafshoseichem b’tishah la’chodesh ba’erev,” you shall afflict yourself on the ninth day of the month in the evening (Vayikra 23:32). It seems odd that the Torah mentions the ninth day as the day for affliction, as we all know that Yom Kippur falls out on the tenth day of the month, and on this day we restrain from many activities in a manner of affliction—not eating, drinking, washing hands, wearing leather shoes, etc. So what happens on the ninth day? We are taught that a person who eats on the ninth day is considered to have fasted on both the ninth and tenth days of the month.
Such a concept is difficult to comprehend. On Yom Kippur we pray five times; that’s two more than every regular day. But what is so special about the day before Yom Kippur?
On Yom Kippur, we demonstrate that everything we do is focused on the idea that Hashem is one. On the day before Yom Kippur, we have a greater job to do, in a way. That job is to eat our food, live our everyday lives, eat our honey cake, and enjoy ourselves. All this, while also focusing on the idea that Hashem is one, and displaying that attitude as the driving force behind our actions. If we do that properly, it is indeed as if we fasted on Yom Kippur and the day before.
Really, we are faced with this challenge and task every day of our lives. In our private lives, when we are not dressed in white and standing before our fellow congregants in prayer, do we also clearly show that we believe Hashem is one and everything we do is because it’s His will? When we talk to our spouses, when we interact with our children, would an onlooker feel that the actions and speech are making known Hashem’s great name in this world? When it’s a regular day, can you make the same impact on yourself as you do on Yom Kippur? Because in truth, that is the job at hand every single moment of your life. In public it’s easier, but—especially at home with the family, where you are more comfortable—it’s important to honestly be able to say that you are focusing on declaring Hashem’s oneness in your surroundings. By constantly acting with a clear view of the unity of Hashem we will merit Hashem’s Presence in our home, and this will serve to further increase shalom bayis. v
Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.