Friday, July 05, 2013

gilu b're'ada

The gemara learns from “isha hafeiram v’Hashem yislach lah” that even though a woman’s husband was matir her neder before she violated it, so in truth she did nothing wrong because the neder she violated no longer exists, she still needs slicha and kaparah.  R’ Akiva moralized: if kapprah is needed even for someone who intended to do an issur but in fact did nothing wrong, think of how serious the consequences are for someone who intended to do wrong and carries out the deed!

The Mishna tells us that the two happiest days of the year were Yom Kippur and 15 Av.  Let’s put aside 15 Av for now and focus on Yom Kippur.  Why was it one of the happiest days?  The gemara explains because it is the day of slicha and kapprah.  Slicha and kapparah is a reason to rejoice; we should be dancing on Yom Kippur like on Simchas Torah!  Contrast that with R’ Akiva’s reaction to our pasuk of “v’Hashem yislach lah.”  You would think that this woman who narrowly escaped doing an aveira and is promised slicha v’kaprah should be rejoicing, yet R’ Akiva tosses cold water all over the celebration and tells us that she should be quaking in her boots, kal v’chomer someone who really sins.

Perhaps there is no contradiction here, but two sides of the same coin.  The celebration of slicha and kapprah stems davka from the appreciation of just how precarious the situation one who needs slicha is in.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps we don't relate to the joy of Yom Kippur because there is no longer a sheni sola'as. In the days the mishnah describes, we didn't have to wonder and worry whether our teshuvah was acceptable. (At least, not on the national level.) The context of the mishnah as a whole is nostalgic for bayis sheini and hopeful for bayis shelishi, so there is little reason to assume the mishnah is describing today's Yom Kippur.