What should we feel on the day after Yom Kippur?
On Yom Kippur, we naturally feel spiritually awakened, but
what happens the following day?
Can we sustain the heightened awareness of Yom Kippur
throughout the year?
We find an answer to these questions in the Torah reading of Yom
Kippur, which describes the sacrifices offered by the Kohen Gadol
in the Beis HaMikdash on that holy day.
The reading is introduced by the verse,  "And G-d spoke to
Moshe after the death of the two sons of Aharon when they had
come close to G-d and died."
This verse teaches us a lesson regarding Yom Kippur - the
importance of what happens afterwards.
Yom Kippur is a time when every Jew "comes close to G-d."
That experience, however, must not be self-contained; it must
be connected to the days and weeks that follow.
A Historical Precedent
In order to teach us how to approach this experience, the Torah
recounts how Aharon's sons, Nadav and Avihu, made a fundamental
error in the way they "came close to G-d" after the revelation
of the Divine Presence at the consecration of the Sanctuary:
 "Each took his fire pan, placed fire in them, and placed
incense upon it; they offered before G-d an alien fire which
He had not commanded them [to bring]. Fire came forth from
before G-d and consumed them."
Although our Sages  enumerate several flaws in the conduct of
Aharon's sons which led to their deaths, these interpretations
raise a number of difficulties.
Nadav and Avihu had been chosen by G-d to serve as priests.
Moreover, as Rashi explains in his commentary on the Torah, 
they had attained a higher spiritual level than Moshe Rabbeinu
How, then, could they have erred so seriously in their service
Several Torah commentaries  explain that the death of Nadav
and Avihu was not a punishment, but a natural consequence of
their having soared to such spiritual heights that their souls
could no longer remain in their bodies.
Having experienced the rapture of cleaving to G-d in dveikus,
they could not return to life on this material plane.
Spiritual Experience Should Not Be Insular
Even according to this interpretation, however, the conduct of
Nadav and Avihu remains problematic because it was motivated by
self-concern: they died because their souls wanted to cleave to
G-d, to remain in a state of absolute unity with Him.
In this desire, they lost sight of G-d's ultimate intention
Like all the other beings in the physical and spiritual worlds,
they too had been created so that G-d could have "a dwelling
place in the lower worlds." 
By leaving the world, even for the purpose of cleaving to G-d,
they were thus in conflict with the intention with which G-d had
created them and the world.
The deepest yearnings of our souls and the loftiest heights of
our religious experience should be connected to the realities of
our material existence.
Spirituality is not an added dimension, separate from our
everyday experience, but a medium through which to elevate our
By fusing our material and spiritual realities, we refine the
world, infuse it with holiness, and transform it into a dwelling
for G-d's Presence.
Entering in Peace to Depart in Peace
The goal of fusing the material and spiritual realms is clearly
illustrated in the Talmud. 
Four Sages "entered the Pardes" (lit., "Orchard"); i.e., they
strolled amidst the lush profusion hidden in the depths of the
Torah and experienced overwhelming mystical revelations.
One of them "peered within and died"; another "peered within
and lost his mind"; a third "cut down the saplings" (i.e.,
distorted by misinterpretation). Rabbi Akiva alone "entered
in peace and departed in peace."
Rabbi Akiva was the only one who departed unharmed because
he alone "entered in peace."
He was not merely seeking mystical experiences.
He did not enter the Pardes in order to satisfy a yearning to
cleave to G-d, but in order to achieve a heightened spiritual
awareness with which he could enhance his total service of G-d.
His colleagues, by contrast, sought personal mystical
They wanted to "come close to G-d," but did not understand how
to relate that experience to the full scope of their lives.
Extending Yom Kippur
The same potential problem exists with regard to our divine
service on Yom Kippur.
At the very time when we "draw close to G-d," we should not
lose sight of our service of G-d throughout the year.
Yom Kippur should not be viewed as an isolated experience, but
as a means to enhance our relationship with G-d on a day-to-day
The necessity of connecting Yom Kippur to the realities of the
rest of the year is illustrated by the service of the High Priest
on Yom Kippur.
On this day he would enter the Holy of Holies where he was alone
with the Shechinah, the revealed Divine Presence. No deeper
religious experience is imaginable.
Immediately, however, he would offer a short and simple prayer,
requesting blessings for an untroubled livelihood on behalf of
the Jewish people. 
Fresh from his ascent to great spiritual heights, he would
immediately thrust himself into concern for the Jewish people
on a day-to-day level.
Significantly, a prerequisite for serving as High Priest on
Yom Kippur was marriage. 
If the High Priest was unmarried, i.e., if he lacked this basic
commitment to living within the practical realities of this
world, he was considered unfit to intercede on behalf of his
Fusing Spiritual Awareness with Material Prosperity
We, perhaps, do not experience the same heights as Aharon's
sons or the High Priest in the Holy of Holies, but we do have
spiritual peaks, times when we feel more in touch with our souls
and with G-d.
Surely this applies to Yom Kippur, a day on which we are removed
from all worldly concerns.
We cannot allow such moments to remain unconnected to our
ordinary lives; rather, the spiritual power of these special
days should be used to recharge our everyday service of G-d. 
This course of action also calls down blessings upon our material
Yom Kippur is a day of judgment.
When G-d sees that an individual focuses his intention on
elevating the world around him and keeps that intention in
mind even at the highest peaks of his spiritual experience,
He rewards him with success both in his divine service and in
his material affairs.
G-d blesses him with health, wealth, and children.
The individual, in turn, uses those blessings to elevate and
refine the world, to transform it into a dwelling place for G-d.
This approach to the service of G-d leads to the ultimate fusion
of material prosperity and spiritual growth which will take place
in the Era of the Redemption.
At that time,  "good things will flow in abundance and all
the delights will be freely available as dust."
Simultaneously, "the occupation of the entire world will be
solely to know G-d.... 'For the world will be filled with the
knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the ocean bed.'"