The Man’s Candle on Yom Kippur

For years I have been bothered by a seeming missing part of the Avoda of Yom Kippur. As we all know after the sin of the Eigel, the Luchos were broken. So the original Matan Torah of Shavuos was broken. The Luchos which we actually have are the second ones, which were given on Yom Kippur. So why in the entire day of davening do we not mention this at all! I have been pondering this question for years and have developed different approaches, but this year, as is the way of learning Torah, I was Zoche to reveal what I think is another depth of HKB”H’s beautiful unlimited Torah.
On every Yom Kippur there is a Halacha to honor Yom Kippur as a Shabbos, since it actually is called in the Torah Shabbos Shabason . [This year is a very rare occurrence that we have a triple Shabbos: Shabbos, Shabbos Shabason of Yom Kipur, and the Shabbos of Shemita.] Since we cannot honor it with a Seudah, we grace our shuls with many candles and put out beautiful tablecloths. There is even an extra reason to smell spices, to make up for the missing meal, and enjoy Yom Kippur . This year especially, one needs to remember that we are accepting Shabbos also as Yom Kippur begins.
As a part of this Halacha the Rema brings from one of the earlier sources that there is also a Minhag that each man lights his own candle, a Ner Neshama, a candle for his soul. The Magen Avrohom brings a number of reasons for this. I would like to deal with the following reason. Since Yom Kippur is the day of the completion of the giving of the Torah, we light a candle as remembrance since the Torah is compared to a candle. This finally gives me a place where in the service and Avoda of the day, we recognize Matan Torah that took pace that day.
However, the Magen Avrohom brings that this is only for men, not women. I would like to clarify why this is so, and bring out an idea that we can utilize.
This idea that Matan Torah was only relevant to the men not the women is difficult. If so, women should not keep Shavuos! Even more, in the Gemarra in Shabbos we learn that Moshe delayed the giving of the Torah for one day, to deal with certain issues of Taharah. Without going into the Halachic discussion there, what comes out is that based on the different requirements for Tahara for men and women, the men were ready for Matan Torah already, but we delayed the entire Matan Torah so all the women could be there.
Furthermore, the Brisker Rav (whose Yartzeit is Erev Yom Kippur) says that even those who say that women cannot make a Bracha on Mitzvot which they are not obligated in, can make Birchas HaTorah. Even though they are not obligated in learning, they are part of the Chosen Nation which was chosen through the Torah. So once again, what does the Magen Avrohom mean?
If we examine the parallel Halacha of women lighting on Erev Shabbos, we find that the Gemarra says that since she extinguished the candle of the world on Erev Shabbos by causing Adam to sin, she must relight it every Erev Shabbos. So the lighting is really a relighting of what was put out.
The sin of the Eigel was the sin of Adam repeated. When we accepted the Torah we were on the level of Adam before the sin, but after the sin we returned once again to the level of Adam after the sin . However the women did not sin in the Eigel . When Aron realized that he had to do something, he thought to delay the inevitable by asking the men to bring gold, but from the women. Aron was sure that the women would not agree, and by then Moshe would return. He was correct that the women would not agree, but not from unwillingness to give up their jewelry, but from a burning desire to not sin. The proof is that when Moshe asked for gold for the Mishkan, they gave all their jewelry. So the women were not participants in the sin of the Eigel. Therefore on some level they remain with the first Luchos .
If so then if just as the lighting of the candles Friday evening are the women’s rectification of extinguishing the light of the world, so too is the candle of Erev Yom Kippur a rectification of the sin of the Eigel. And since the women did not participate in that sin, it is the man’s obligation to light, abd not the womans!
This Erev Yom Kippur we get to light both these candles. The candle to rectify the sin of Adam and Chava, and the candle of the Torah of before the Eigel. May we be Zoche to bring this light into ourselves and bring ourselves and the world to Teshuva Sheleimah.


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