We are in four wonderful days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are behind us, and Sukkot is before us. According to our sages, these four days are free from sins, and the "counting of sins" begins with Sukkot: "'And you shall take for yourselves on the first day' – but is it the first day? Is it not the fifteenth day? So why 'first'? First for the accounting of sins." Naturally, the influence of spending time in the synagogue during the Ten Days of Repentance resonates in the soul, prevents sins, and lifts our spirits.
Part of maintaining our spiritual uplift is not getting carried away by the background noise that tries to bring us down. Let's summarize some of the good things that have happened in the State of Israel in the last forty days:
Since the beginning of the month of Elul, around three million Israelis visited the Western Wall. In fact, there was no more space available at the Western Wall plaza, so forgiveness prayers were held in large screens at various locations. Tens of thousands of awakening sessions were held across the country. Synagogues were filled with millions of worshippers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, including gatherings in kibbutzim, community centers, and city centers. Yeshivas and study centers saw a growth of thirteen percent. Additionally, every other Jewish child who started first grade in the 5784 school year is wearing a kippah.
What does the evil inclination do? It wants us to be alarmed by a few dozen extremists who the media tries to highlight in order to ruin the atmosphere. Don't let it! Its method is to create the impression that the enemies of Judaism are the majority; they are not. How to practically deal with these oddballs is a separate matter, but first and foremost, it's important to clarify that they are a minority.
Last Saturday night, I was at the Western Wall for the Selichot prayers with over two hundred thousand people, more than all the protesters and readers of 'Haaretz' newspaper for generations. Don't give in to the people of hatred, and don't let them dictate your state of mind. They belong to the past; let's turn to the future, to the joy of Sukkot, where we celebrate "with all the good that the Lord your God has given to you."