The High Holidays are just around the corner for those of us who are Jewish. We honor those days by celebrating creation--the creation of the world and all its beings--on the evening of September 18th, and then on the 19th. We begin the ten Days of Awe as we contemplate the beauty of creation, and ask ourselves how we can enhance that beauty by our thoughts and deeds, by our spiritual yearning.
We prepare ourselves for the holiest day of the year in our tradition. This year it begins on the night of September 27th, and goes through the 28th. It's the day when we ask God's forgiveness for sins against God. We ask forgiveness from other people for sins against people. It's a day for taking stock of who we are, and who we want to be. We fast. We pray. We face our mortality and pray that the Gates of Repentance and the Gates of Life will stay open for us and our families.
On Yom Kippur, my mother used to call relatives with whom she had been bickering. Each year when I was little, I overheard her apologizing to people she didn't like. On Yom Kippur, not liking was irrelevent and arguing was not an option.
One year, recently, I got a card from my ex-husband on Yom Kippur, apologizing for his part in our miserable marriage. The card came 30 years after the fact. I was astonished. A feeling of relief washed over me. I guess I had thought that everything wrong in the marriage was my fault.
Yom Kippur is an opportunity to start over. It's profound and efficacious. May you have an easy fast, we say. May it beautiful all around you.
But a free book for words about repentance? That would violate the spirit of the gift. Repentance is a gift in its own right.
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.