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Friday - Shabbat, September 17 - 18 - Yom Kippur 

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Yom Kippur is referred to in the Torah as "achat b'shanah-a single day of the year." The Tosfot commentary on the Talmud explains that this term Achat refers to the soul that is called yechidah-singular or unique. Hence, Yom Kippur is the day that we get in touch with our soul.

However, we know that the soul is known by four other names: nefesh, ruach, neshama and chaya. Why is Yom Kippur described as a day when we get in touch with yechidah specifically? Why doesn't it say that it is the day of nefesh, or the day of ruach etc.?

To answer this question we must also answer another question about the name yechidah. All the other names with which we identify the soul denote a spiritual life force. Only the fifth name, yechidah, does not mean life force, but rather "singular" or "unique." How does singularity or uniqueness apply to the soul?

In truth, the five names relate to and describe five distinct layers of the soul, each of which is responsible for its different spiritual expressions and functions. While the four other names of the soul express the soul's characteristics, the name yechidah expresses the uniqueness of the soul even in relation to its other levels. It follows then, that on Yom Kippur this most unique level of the soul can be reached and expressed. This also explains why, only on Yom Kippur, we pray five different prayers. These five prayers are designed to reveal all of the five levels of the soul, ultimately reaching the yechidah.

But what precisely does it mean that we have touched our yechidah and how does it differ from the way the other four levels of the soul are expressed? When a person does something good, there can be many different motivating factors. Each one of these motivating factors derives from a different level of the soul.

One can do the right thing because one has been physically conditioned to do it (as defined by the nefesh level of the soul) while others will do good because they love doing good (connected with the ruach part of their soul). There is still another individual who does good because it makes sense logically (neshama).They take action based on their intellectual faculties which dictate that it is the right thing to do.

There are yet some people who may lack the conditioning, love or understanding to do good, but they still do it because they just want to do it. Their conscience (read: the level of chaya) motivates them to submit and surrender to G‑d's will. This will power can often get a person to do something that is totally alien to their personality.

These four motivating factors-conditioning, emotion, understanding and will power-represent the four levels of the soul that can be accessed throughout the entire year.

What is unique about Yom Kippur is that we are then capable of expressing the fifth level of yechidah, the singular and unique dimension of the soul as well. This is the state of doing that which is right not because of any specific motivating factor. One does that which G‑d wants simply because one feels that one cannot do anything else. To do something due to the other levels of motivation suggests that there is a basis for inaction, and one has to bring one faculty or another to bear to get the person to do that which is right. However, when the Yechidah is revealed, on Yom Kippur, we don't need motivation. That which is G‑d's desire is automatically ours. This is because the level of Yechidah is so intimately bound with the singularity of G‑d, that there can just not be any other course of action. Our will is G‑d's will.

The purpose of Yom Kippur, however, is to allow the yechidah experience of Yom Kippur to affect all the other levels of our soul. To be inspired on Yom Kippur to the point where we are inextricably bound with G‑d is not the goal. The goal is to take that uniqueness and instill it in the lower levels of the soul. Our conscience, intellect, emotions and physical faculties of our soul should be inspired by the yechidah.

This explains why Maimonides-based on the Talmud-describes the service of Yom Kippur in the Temple of old and concludes with the description of the High Priest going home after the service. Of what relevance to the Yom Kippur service is the description of the High Priest's return home? The answer is that that is precisely what Yom Kippur is all about: it is to take the part of the soul that is singular and make it a part of all aspects of our personality.

Kabbalah teaches us that during the Messianic Age our yechidah will be revealed perpetually. It will be Yom Kippur every day. It doesn't mean that we will be observing Yom Kippur with all of its physical denial. Rather it means that the post-Yom Kippur state-where we take the Yechidah home with us-will be perpetual. May we all be sealed for a good and sweet year, a year that will be known for its uniqueness in terms of the G‑dly blessings that will prevail.

Moshiach Matters 

The final shofar blast at Neilah is a foretaste of the ultimate shofar blast of Moshiach when we will enter a new age of complete freedom. (The Mittler Rebbe, Ateres Rosh)

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