This past January, the Jewish world lost a tremendous resource: Rabbi Dovid Winiarz zt”l, who was known online as the “Facebuker Rebbe.” For him, Jewish outreach was about one thing above all else: finding what he could do for you, and trying to do it. In any field of endeavor, it is typical for us to get into a certain pattern — we have a line of products or area of responsibility, and we do what fits into our “mold.” Dovid didn’t limit himself; he was just there to help.
His brother Reb Shmuel relates that if you would ask him, “how was your Rosh HaShanah?” or “how was your Yom Kippur,” he would respond with a smile and say — “I don’t know. Ask me next year!”
First and foremost, this is the time to be thinking about the fragility of life. We are hoping to be written for another year, and must keep in mind that a person never knows — Reb Dovid passed away extremely suddenly, when the car in which he was traveling slipped on black ice. Now, when the King is “close by,” is our opportunity to ask Him for another year.
And what shall that year bring? These days are also our opportunity to ask G-d for a year of blessing: for our health, for our families, for our income, for our spiritual growth. But in that last area in particular, we are also setting a pattern for the year ahead.
Taking the lesson encapsulated in Rabbi Winiarz’s words, let’s first think back over last year. How did we do? Did we grow? Did we meet our goals? Or did we quickly slip back into old patterns? Then we can think about what we should be asking for, praying for, and working towards — so that when we look back next year, we feel accomplished.
Now, where do we want to be next year? When it’s time to look back one year from now, we will be, in essence, answering “how was your Yom Kippur?” Where would we like to be? What are we asking HaShem to do for us this year?
With those questions answered in our mind, we will be better prepared for Yom Kippur. Let us keep in mind everything we are asking for, everything we hope to accomplish. And let us go through Yom Kippur asking Hashem for help in reaching those goals.