Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 11, 2016
A Prayerful Day: Yom Kippur
This is the end of the High Holidays: the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur. A full day of asking Ha Shem to forgive us the sins we have committed against Ha Shem. What is more, those observing Yom Kippur need to ask all those whom we have wronged to forgive us. All of this is done while fasting, too.
Yes, I understand why we are to ask G-d for forgiveness for our sins. The Jewish concept of sin includes the idea of missing the mark, like an archer missing the target. What a concept. Instead of a nebulous intellectual thought going through my head, this is a concrete image.
I connect strongly to mental images. I needed a vivid image for me to hold on to. This idea of missing the target hits me right in the heart. Really and truly.
Then, after those observing Yom Kippur stop to ask forgiveness of G-d (vertically), they turn to ask forgiveness of others, near and far (horizontally). And, sometimes even those who have died.
Some people don’t care for this practice. “Why do I have to forgive that person? He/she doesn’t even feel sorry for what they did to me.” With arms folded across the chest, lower lip protruding. (Can you say “grudge?”) Some people hold grudges against another. Sometimes, against more than one or two persons.
There is a saying: “Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.” If we let go of grudges and allow any anger, fear and resentment we hold in our heart to dissipate, we are evicting those people from our heads. We are sweeping our side of the street, and clearing away the debris of our life. Others’ lives, too.
What a way for me to feel the mercy of G-d. Wonderful, rejuvenating, life-giving mercy. I urge anyone–everyone to consider this practice. Cleansing to the heart and soul.
May my friends who observe Yom Kippur have an easy fast. May we all feel G-d’s abundant mercy.
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