• Rabbi Anthony Knopf

From the Desk - Leaving for Yizkor

Shalom Friends! Well done to our community, devoted volunteers and to our entire professional staff for a fantastic holiday period! The festivals ended on a high with a beautiful and joyous Simchat Torah celebration. We now look forward to what we hope will be a wonderful year for all of us and for our community. On a more somber note, This Sunday, October 27th, marks the first anniversary of the terrorist attack which killed 11 people in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. At 5:00 PM on Sunday, people from around the world will have the opportunity to join Pittsburgh in a public memorial service. Together, we will pause and pledge to maintain our abiding sense of unity and responsibility for one another. Because we know that what happens to one of us, happens to all of us, I encourage everyone to join me in registering for this which will allow you to receive a video with a mourning prayer and the names of the 11 lives lost, a link to a livestream video where you can join the Pittsburgh community in a public memorial service and the opportunity to submit a message of support. To register, please click here. May Hashem bring comfort to those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and to the Jewish People across the world as we remember this most brutal anti-Semitic attack in the history of North America. May this year only bring good things for our people. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami

What’s the Deal with… Leaving for Yizkor? It won’t be relevant now for some time but, this week, I tackle the question of why some people who still have their parents leave during the Yizkor prayer. In writing this answer, I benefited from an article on Chabad.org by Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin. Some of the reasons given for this practice are more mystical. An example of such a reason is that one doesn’t want to evoke jealousy and prompt the evil eye from those who have lost a parent. Those who are less mystically inclined may relate more to some of the other explanations that are given. It is generally expected that everyone join in group prayers, lest they give the impression that they belong to a different faction or that they do not condone the prayer being said. In this case, since people with parents obviously do not wish to say Yizkor, it is best that they leave the room, leaving all present to say the prayer together. Another reason is that saying Yizkor might dampen the joy that we are meant to have on holidays. For those whose parents have passed away, reciting Yizkor also provides a certain sense of relief in that they are able to do something for the merit of the departed. For those who don’t have this element of relief, it may be better to leave during Yizkor.

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