“Return, O Israel to the Lord, your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the Lord” Hosea 14:2-3


 We stand at the threshold of one of the most extraordinary Yom Kippurim we are likely to ever experience. This year has been unlike any other and this year’s Day of Atonement will reflect this.

Amid the uncertainty engendered by Covid-19, it may be testing to grasp meaningful moments of reflection and heartfelt prayer on the most sacred Jewish date. However, the spiritual power of Yom Kippur has not changed. Isaiah declared; “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him when He is near” (55:6) and the Talmud relates that this enhanced spiritual intimacy with God refers to “the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur”; the current period (Rosh Hashanah 18a).

There is so much to pray for. As this year has illustrated, people’s livelihood, health and life itself cannot be taken for granted. But we must take heart in the knowledge that precisely at such distressing times, God’s everlasting arms are especially close, outstretched, as it were, to hold us close and guide us; “In my distress I called upon the Lord… out of his Temple He heard my voice…(II Samuel 22:7)”.

Shocking and unsettling occurrences have affected us this past year in the most personal of ways. Equally, we have witnessed heart-warming expressions of humanity’s goodness and empathetic sensitivity to others.

Unprecedented dramas on the geopolitical stage have also occurred, such as the spectacular normalisation of ties between Israel and the UAE, which may yet be a harbinger of an era of peace, trade and prosperity between the Jewish state and her Arab neighbours.

All this reflects God’s continued guidance of earthly affairs and that His healing light may soon be visible to dispel the surrounding darkness; “For You are my lamp, O Lord …the Lord does lighten my darkness” (II Samuel 22:29).

So at this seminal point in our calendar, at a pivotal time for mankind, let us concentrate as best we are able and seize the opportunity to pray to God, our loving Father, asking Him to bring an end to instability.

Let us promise Him that we will strive to emerge from this as more wholesome people, ever more dedicated to His will and benevolent vision. In that merit, may God bring healing to the world, in fulfilment of His promise “I shall be like the dew to Israel…it will blossom like the rose… its tender branches will spread” (Hosea 6:7).






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