Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One Above and Seven Below - The Yom Kippur Connection

Many publishers have told me that as a rule, one of the last steps of producing a book is assigning the title. The title is the main conduit for informing the potential reader - who is outside of the book - as to what is inside the book and much care and deliberation needs to go into formulating a title. The book companies devise titles in order to sell the book.

I am a bit of a dyslexic thinker. I work backwards. As soon as I started my project, I knew what I wanted to title it. I just wrote the rest of the book to sell the title.

Throughout the time I was writing the book, and telling my friends, relatives, mentors, investors (same as relatives), and potential publishers about it, I was constantly asked what I will be calling the book. That was an easy question to answer because my title was etched in stone even if none of the rest of the book was.

Then they would ask me what it means. And that was a much tougher question to answer.

Almost everybody was able to immediately catch on that the title is taken from Chazal's description of one of the most reverent parts of the special Yom Kippur service performed by the Kohen Gadol as referenced in Rashi Vayikra 16:14. But how does this relate to the book?

To the sharp-eyed reader, I disclosed this secret on page 81 where I wrote:
Incidentally, the title of this book is based on a passage from the Talmud that Rashi quotes in Leviticus 16:14 in conjunction with the commentary of the Chizkuni (ad loc).

The Chizkuni, in his exceedingly brief style, comments on the seven drops: לכפר על שבע חטאתיכם . In other words, the seven drops that are sprinkled on the lower part of the Kapores are meant to atone for the seven levels of deviance that are discussed in Parshat Bechukosai. And since the entire premise of the book is to scrutinize and promote HKBH (G-d the Father)'s unrefusable deal in Parshat Bechukosai, the connection was very appropriate.

The more important question is: what led me to take note of the profundity of Parshat Bechukosai to begin with?

For this, I have my oldest son, Yaakov, to thank. Yaakov's role in this project is very special but I think I will close this post at this point and tell the story in a separate post.

Stay tuned for Yaakov's Story.

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