The sound of the shofar, and the glitter and glamour of the seudos and Yom Tov clothing have faded, and left in its place are a stark reality: We made promises to the Creator on Rosh HaShanah, vowed to improve and to do good, and we find ourselves plunged into a reality in which we have to keep our promises. For some, this is a time of inspiration and strength – for others, it is, to put it succinctly, a terrifying time of year. For many families living in Israel, affording the necessary amenities for the upcoming holidays seems an impossibility. These families struggle to pay rent, to put food on the table – and the expenses of something as simple as the festive meal before the fast on Yom Kippur, or as elaborate as the materials needed for a sukkah, are out of their financial reach.
Many of these families qualify due to their extreme poverty to receive help during the chagim from tzedaka organization Kupat Ha’Ir, together with the public support of gedolim like Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rav Gershon Edelstein, and Rav Shimon Galai. In recent years, Rav Kanievsky has taken on a very interesting Erev Yom Kippur ritual: Just hours before the entrance of the holiday, the Rav receives a list of those who donate to Kupat Ha’Ir’s Yom Kippur tzedaka fund. He prays for those whose names are added here: for their health, protection, and parnassah.
In the words of campaign text, “this is a beautiful fulfillment of the vow we all took to be m’kayim “Teshuva, tefila, and tzedaka.” Donations can be used for pidyon kaparos as well.
The next few days are absolutely crucial. As each member of the Jewish People individually assesses their own actions, and their bearing on the year to come, this tzedaka fund presents itself as an opportunity to begin the year right, by joining the Gedolei Yisroel in helping those who are less fortunate. We made promises in shul on Rosh HaShana – now it is time to see if we will keep them.