Yom Kippur: Burning Parchment



Yizkor Sermon


You will never look at a Jew quite the same way again after hearing the haunting story about Salamon Abshalom, who on the Eve of Yom Kippur with a noose around his neck, proclaimed the Godliness of the Jewish People even at a time when God seemed to be totally absent.

This riveting story – of a forgotten act of Kiddush Hashem – dramatically explains the mysterious words of Rabbi Chananya – one of the ten martyrs we remember, Eileh Ezkerah, on Yom Kippur. As Rabbi Chananya was being burned alive by the Romans with a Torah scroll wrapped around him, his dying words to his students were: “The parchment is burning and the letters are soaring.”

What do these enigmatic words mean? What is Rabbi Chananya telling us?

It teaches us the true meaning and the awesome power of Yizkor. To appreciate our gift of remembering, imagine what things would be like if we had no memories…


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