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    All on your own – Acharei Mot

    kohen gadol kodesh hakodashim holy of holies high priest temple mishkan tabernacle mikdashWhen the high priest entered the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, no-one else could be there with him (Lev. 16:17).

    Human beings are a social race: they know how true are the words of the story of Creation, “It is not good for a person to be alone” (Gen.2:18). Adam needed Eve; human beings need each other. But it doesn’t always happen, or help.

    Sometimes there is nothing another person can do for you, however much they love you. Franz Rosenzweig points out that at crucial moments everyone is alone. Death is the ultimate example. You can be surrounded by others at that moment. They can have their arms around you and their hand in yours, their lips can kiss you, but they can only be observers: the dying is you alone.

    The high priest on Yom Kippur was not in such a macabre situation, but his spiritual experience in the Holy of Holies was unique to him.

    In a metaphorical way, we all have our moments when decisions have to be made on our own. President Truman was reminded by a saying displayed in his office, “The buck stops here”. May God give us wisdom at these moments.

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