Tue, Sep 25, 2012
Tonight at sundown starts the one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar
It’s also a day (or more aptly put a process) to which I look forward all year.
I readily admit Im not the most religious of misfits.
I tend to claim Im a cultural Jew (you know, as opposed to the JewJews who actually attend religious services weekly)—but even that claim can be a stretch.
I fully intend to celebrate all the holidays “culturally”–but I lack much cooking prowess & REALLY what’s more part of the Jewish culture (or any for that matter) than the food & the process of creating it with LOVE.
Let’s just say I frequent the local bakery a lot for Shabbat and my last foray into hamantashen making was a mess.
Kitchen skills lacking aside, the Sabbath is very important to my family.
Ren Man comes home early, we unplug en masse, recite the traditional Shabbat prayers and remain present & family-focused for the remainder of the night.
I look forward to Shabbat starting Monday morning in the same way I begin to long for next Yom Kippur pretty much right after the day’s fast is broken.
Yom Kippur means day of atonement and, for those unfamiliar, that’s what I’ll be doing from sundown tonight until sundown Saturday.
We go to synagogue.
We pray and murmur offerings of apology for wrong doings the previous 365 days.
We are forgiven.
(that’s the short version–but it gives you the gist)
There is, however, a catch.
Tonight and tomorrow we are offered a last opportunity to make amends to G-d but Yom Kippur prayers dont “cover” sins or wrong doings against other people.
This, because I am nothing if not a misfit, is my favorite part of Yom Kippur.
We are told in order to be ‘written in the book of life’ we need to seek reconciliation with the people we’ve wronged and right these offenses if at all possible.
All this straightening up & flying right must be done before Yom Kippur/sundown tonight.
This year Im less busy atoning than I have been in years past.
That said, I still take today to reflect on who I am, think long, hard and honestly about whom Ive slighted, wronged or even gossiped about, and I reach out, apologize and ask for forgiveness.
While it’s hard (and at times embarrassing) it serves as a yearly reminder we all have the choice of what kind of person we wish to be.
I may make mistakes and wander off my path (as with fitness. GO ME bringing these religious mumblings all back to FITNESS!) but Im never as far away from the person I strive to be as my very next action.
For the religious Jew Yom Kippur represents a sort of spiritual rebirth.
For this misfit cultural Jew it represents an overall opportunity for cleansing and rebirth.
On this Yom Kippur I am grateful.
On this Yom Kippur I am reflecting.
On this Yom Kippur, almost more than any other, I am ready and eager for repentance and rebirth.
To my Jewish readers may you be written in the book of life.
To my non-Jewish readers THANK YOU for indulging my religious ramblings and accidental fitness-tie in.