9/11, the 20-Year Yarzheit

September 10, 2021
Sept. 12, 2001: The Statue of Liberty weeps. Cartoon by Mike Luckovich the day after the 9/11 attacks.

20 years ago tomorrow, September 11, 2021, the world as we knew it changed forever. Millions of people went to sleep on September 10, 2001 with no thought of what horrors they would face on 9/11.

That night, thousands of people packed bags, backpacks, briefcases, purses they would not live to open. People spoke to, saw, slept with loved ones they would never see again – none ever imagined it would be for the last time.

This 20th yartzheit of 9/11 coincides with the Jewish Days of Awe – the intervening days between Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The rabbis teach that it is a time of self-reflection and reconnection through teshuva, tefillah, and tzedakah – commonly translated as repentance, prayer, and charity; concepts much more profound than their translations from Hebrew suggest.[1]

In this season, and on this Day of Remembrance, we are reminded to live each day to its fullest, to be kind and thoughtful, to reconnect with a power greater than ourselves, and to let those around us know they are important. Make every day and everyone count.

Teshuva, tefillah, and tzedakah help merit that we will be written and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year. Teshuvah allows us to return to our innermost selves. Tefilah helps us to form positive relationships with HaShem. Tzedakah teaches us to turn outwards and be righteous and just to others.

May the memories of all whose lives were destroyed by the events of 9/11 be as blessings.

May we all merit a year of blessing and success together.

[1] https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/2301372/jewish/Teshuvah-Tefillah-Tzedakah.htm

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