Day of Atonement
Note: Up until a couple of months ago (at which time I attended two Friday night services at a Synagogue) I had not been in a Synagogue for 16 years, since my mother died. Also, just as a side note, although many say this is the most important day of the year, the Sabbath is the most important day, even more important than this holy day.
Day 29 and 30 of my birthday month…(hmmm….two endings approaching…..)
Today is also called the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur in Hebrew…the New Year begins on the first of month of Tishrei and Yom Kippur is the eve of and the tenth day of Tishrei, Tishrei being the first month of the Hebrew or Jewish calendar. The new year is 5778. The holiday falls on different days on our calendar each year, as the two calendars are not in synch. The Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar month (referred as a lunisolar calendar) with the beginning of the month starting with the new moon.
Tonight and tomorrow..are the last chances to say….
Yes, God, I can do better, I have fallen short in certain areas, I have done some good deeds too, but being a person on this planet, I also take responsibility for all the wrongs that are being committed in the world, for the shortcomings of humanity and injustices, unkindness, and arrogance, and insensitivity, and harmfulness…
I accept responsibility and vow to do my best to make this earth more kind, more just, more sane, more humane, more caring, more forgiving, more loving…..I have till tomorrow at sundown to say yes, I will do my best to be a better person and in my personal relationships and my relationship with community and the earth, the world, and God, I vow to strive for goodness and kindness and love, and to minimize negativity and cynicism and all behaviors that do not foster an atmosphere of growth and openness and acceptance and tolerance…..
…….the gates are on their way closed and now is the time to humble oneself and admit that mistakes have been made and I vow to strive to make my legacy one of honor in my name…honor that says here was a good person that for a blessing, should have offspring as good as she is, as good as he is….their children …may they be as full of kindness and caring as you are…because…what else do you have??
What is the most important thing you have???? Your name….it is who you are…. and if you have left some kindness in this world, if you vow to leave as much kindness and love as you can, then you are open to the light that shines within
We have limited and often times no control over what happens to us from the outside….illness, cancer, tragedy… we do have control over how we react to what happens. And, we can always do better.
This is what the Day of Atonement is about. Those who are able to (those who need to eat for medical reasons get a “free pass”), refrain from eating or “fasting” as it is called. Why? To humble ourselves, to repent for all our transgressions and those of the world. Who can say that the world cannot do better?
It is a way of asking God to pardon me, pardon us mortal, imperfect beings, and a way to feel empathy for others in this world that are struggling or hurting or in pain, or being treated unkindly, unfairly. It is something that requires committing heart, soul, and being to, and is a matter of mind over body. It is not easy. Things that are deeply worthwhile, rarely are.
(AND, If you knew my eating habits… I FREQUENTLY snack… allow me to emphasize….. FREQUENTLY…you would realize that not eating for a significant period of time, is beyond difficult for me, and I require some kind of alternate focus to maintain my sanity and keep me from completely fixating on how obsessively and exaggeratedly HUNGRY I am…truly pitiful…LOL…eventually the sharpness of hunger fades to a duller ache and then just an overall weakness and hollowness …and interestingly enough, the incessant cry inside for food is much softer and somehow less urgent as I tell myself it will be a while yet before there will be food to eat…I do not know how as an earthling, we allow children or adults to starve…to have to endure famine and hunger….fast for just one day…..one day….one fricking day….and see what it feels like…how can we allow anyone, anywhere….to feel that…especially children… breaks my heart …absolutely breaks my heart )
Neal Harvey…..good day!! and for anyone fasting, it is common to say…. may it be a good fast (meaning, may it go quickly and without too much discomfort for you)
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.