Thursday, September 23, 2004

Yom Kippur

Tomorrow evening at sundown, Yom Kippur begins. The holiest day on the Jewish calendar. The day when your fate for the year, whether you will live or die, whether you will have a good year or a bad year, is decided. Your name will have been inscribed and sealed in either the Book of Life, or the Book of Death.

It's a fairly scary time for most Jews. You fast to cleanse your body, and you pray to purge your soul of sin. As Rob puts it, you are praying for your life. He wrote an interesting BLOG this week about Yom Kippur, and how it effects how he looks at his life. I will agree with that BLOG. It is not only a time to fast and pray, but also a time to reflect on how you lived your life this past year, what you did right and what you did wrong, and how you can change it all for the better.

Personally, I have had a difficult year, with many life changes. Graduating from school, becoming a licensed PT, getting a job, moving out, being financially independent, living with Rob, taking our relationship to the next level, considering and being scared my marriage... and while many of these things may seem superficial to the problems many others have which are much more difficult and serious, it's been an emotionally turbulent year for me. I think, I handled most of it fairly well, but all I can do is pray that what I did not do well, I will gain the strength to either fix it, or change my actions for the future. I believe I have recently started to make some positive changes in my life for the future, changes that will hopefully better me inside and out. I pray for the strength and guidance to carry out these changed to their completion.

I pray for my soul. I pray that I might find my place in Judaism, that I may rest my soul with a balance between the everyday, and the Shabbat, the heart and the soul, the body and the spirit.

I pray for my sins, large small, those I remember those I don't. I pray for forgiveness of these sins by Gd, but also by person. I recently posted about Selichot, and while nobody commented, I hope that for all whom I have wronged this year that you will forgive me.

It is hard and kinda wrong to actually say this, but I very much dislike Yom Kippur. Well, I don't suppose ANYONE really enjoys it. It is an extremely uncomfortable day. You are physically hungry, and weak. No food and water for 25 hours is difficult enough to endure without the emotional component of the day. I drink a lot of water on a daily basis, so usually end up with a large headache at the end of the fast due to dehydration. Physically it is hard, but emotionally, it is harder, You are in Shul all day, praying and swaying, pounding and praying some more. It is extremely intense, and for me, just plain exhausting. It would be a difficult day even if I could eat.

So for those reasons and others, I dislike, and do not look forward to Yom Kippur. But, I see it's importance, and while it is uncomfortable, painful, physically exhausting, and emotionally taxing, I do welcome the opportunity to examine my life and soul, and make changes for the future. It is a process that I believe we should all go through in some form or other every year, a process important for healing and growth.

And so, I pray and wish all who participate in Yom Kippur an easy and meaningful fast. May you be sealed in the Book of Life for a Sweet New Year. L'Shana Tova Tikateyvu. For those of you who do not partake in this particular Holy Day, may you also have some form of meaningful reflection on your life and soul, and I wish you too, a Sweet New Year, filled with life, love, and spirit.

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