Turn a Page

It is Erev Yom Kippur … the eve of The Day of Atonement.  It is the day on which observant Jews … and quite a few unobservant ones … take a day to to afflict the soul to atone for sins of the past year.  Many Jews, even those who don’t regularly attend services, will attend synagogue and fast from sunset on Tuesday until sunset on Wednesday.   That seems like a rather mild affliction of the soul to earn a year’s atonement, doesn’t it?  Of course, the Talmud specifies additional restrictions, including: washing an bathing, using cosmetics, wearing leather or having sex.  Still, it sounds like a good deal.   Observing Yom Kippur alone doesn’t atone for sins against our fellow man, though.   For that, you need to seek reconciliation with those you’ve wronged, making retribution if possible.

Muri has fasted every year I’ve known her, a total now pushing fifty.  Me?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  That could be a theme for most of my spiritual life.  With respect to my actions, I think I’ve had a pretty good year with my fellow man, although certainly tomorrow when Muri and I read the Al Cheit, the confession of our sins in the the machzor (the High Holy Days book of prayer), I may rediscover a sin committed under stress or through choice; or a sin committed in stubbornness or in error.   What’s gone on inside my head is not so pretty … my judgement of others has distanced me from people I care about.  I’ve talked … and written …  about my spiritual growth, but my level of conscious contact with God rises and falls inversely with my moods.  A little atonement can’t hurt, can it?  I’m fasting, if only to Turn a Page.

I won’t wish you Happy Yom Yippur.  As Judaism 101 says, it’s not a happy holiday.  A more proper greeting is Have an easy fast.  In case you’re not fasting, I’ll wish you G’mar Hatimah TovahMay you be sealed for a good year in the book of life.

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