Where are you heading? Rav Shalom Schwadron used to say over the following idea in the name of his father-in-law, Rav Chaim Leib Auerbach (father of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach). He asked why it is that at kol nidrei/ma’ariv at the start of Yom Kippur, when we are most full of food and least into the purity of the day, we say the baruch shem kevod malchuso…of the Shema out loud in resemblance of the angels - whilst at the ma’ariv immediately after Yom Kippur is out, when we have been through 5 tefillos and have thoroughly woven the purity of the day into our characters and made solid commitments to better ourselves, we stop being like angels and thus say baruch shem… quietly? Shouldn’t it be the other way round? He answered that at the start of Yom Kippur our thoughts, aims, and attentions are directed towards the awe of the day and to sincere Teshuva, whilst at the very end - ma’ariv on motzei Yom Kippur - we are looking towards the food we shall be breaking our fasts on. Thus, even though at the start of Yom Kippur we have not yet become part of the day’s kedusha, since this kedusha is our mental focal point and destination, we are like angels. Whilst, since at the end of Yom Kippur our direction is towards food and material thoughts, we loss that angelic level and thus return to whispering the baruch shem… The message here is that one is defined by where they are heading and where their goals and perspective lies.

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