A Mir Yom Kippur
Of all the places where you can feel the awe of Yom Kippur, the great Yeshiva of Mir must be one of the most intense.
Not so many years ago, it happened that all the younger students and the married men, the rabbis, the wives, the children, everyone had, as usual, prepared themselves for this awesome day. And on Yom Kippur itself, the service was performed with absolute punctiliousness. Everyone sang when it was time to sing, klopped their chests when it was time to klop, prostrated themselves when it was time to prostrate. The Yeshiva was a model of devotion.
Which is why it came as something of a surprise when, just before Neilah — the final prayer at the time of the "closing of the gates" — the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, sent a young man up to make an announcement. The young man gave a solitary bang on the table to draw everyone’s attention, cleared his throat, and said in a loud voice: "The Rosh Yeshiva wishes to announce to the congregation that there is a G-d in the world."
What was the purpose of such a statement? At that highest holiest moment of the year, people needed to be reminded that there is a G-d in the world? After a month of Elul, two days of Rosh Hashana and ten days of teshuva, after twenty-four hours of fasting and chest beating, right then, the congregation needed reminding that there is a G-d in the world?
Sometimes it is exactly at those peak moments that we can forget what things are really all about. We can become so embroiled with all the Highness and the Holiness, that we forget the most important thing of all. We can forget why we are doing all of this. Because there is a G-d in the world.
Heard from Rabbi Mordechai Perlman