My Experience Praying With Rav Kanievsky On Yom Kippur

Last year, I had an experience that I never thought that I, a regular guy from Lakewood, would be able to have.

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הרב קנייבסקי
הרב קנייבסקי
צילום: ועד הרבנים

Last year, I had an experience that I never thought that I, a regular guy from Beit Shemesh, would be able to have: I prayed next to Rav Chaim Kanievsky on Yom Kippur. It totally transformed my fast, and set me on the right track for the year to come. But how did I, a normal father-of-4, pull this off? Let me explain:

It was the Aseret Yemei Teshuva and I was in a bit of a rut. LIke many of us, I’m blessed with a family, and as the holiday approached I was immersed in important matters of business, money, and other logistics. It was eating away at me that I hadn’t done the proper preparations for Yom Kippur. That’s when I heard about Vaad HaRabbanim’s pre-Yom Kippur charity fund.

Vaad HaRabbanim distributes food and money to families in Israel who are mamash suffering in poverty. I took a moment to center myself, thought of the most I could give to help, and donated - and I felt amazing. Taking that time to be m’kayim the mitzvah of tzedaka, and to think of others before this extremely important day, really put me in the right headspace. The campaign offered even more than just that satisfaction, though: Donors have their names put on a list which comes up to the bima with Rav Chaim Kanievsky during Ne’ilah, the most powerful moments of Yom Kippur.

As I stood fasting in my own shul in Baltimore, I can’t tell you how much motivation it gave me to know that on the other side of the world, in a famous synagogue in Bnei Brak, the Gadol HaDor was praying for me. We learn each year that most of us fall into the “beinoni” category, and that we pray in groups of respected people to try to attach ourselves to those tzaddikim in our generation, to try to group ourselves together with their merits.

And in that moment, as I closed my eyes and heard the cry of the shofar, I truly felt that I was standing next to the Gadol HaDor - because in a way, I was: I was on his mind as he prayed for me, and I was joining him in his own mission to provide for those who have nothing.

It was one of the best fasts I’ve ever had: And for that I have to thank the Ribono Shel Olam, and Vaad HaRabbanim.

Trust me - make this a part of your Yom Kippur preparations. You won’t regret it. Donations are being accepted for the next two days only.



This is a fictional story, written from the perspective of one of the many thousands of people from around the world who have joined Rav Chaim Kanievsky in helping impoverished families before Yom Kippur.