This Tuesday night, and Wednesday is Yom Kippur the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The Torah says, ” On the tenth day of the month ( Tishre) it is a day of atonement, a holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves.” ( Lev.23) And the Torah tells us that on Yom Kippur, ” You shall be purified from all your sins.” ( Lev 6:30) This purification is the awesome gift of the day.
On the external, outside, level, Yom Kippur is a day of affliction, not eating, not washing, confessing all the sins, feeling sad, and remorseful for all the mistakes we have made individually and collectively. There is much pain and suffering on micro and macro levels in the world today that if we are not mindful and do not understand the essence of the Yom Kippur, we could be easily disheartened on this day.
On the internal level, on the inside of the inside, Yom Kippur is the most joyous and awesome day of the year. By being in spiritual community and uniting with the Community of Israel on this most awesome of days, on Yom Kippur, that was established thousands of years ago, we are given the opportunity as well as the support, both divine and communal, to liberate ourselves from the stifling hold that materialism and physicality have had in defining who we are. We release ourselves from the tyranny of the ego self that inflicts us and others with its fragmented, narrow, self-serving limiting conversation. On Kol Nidre, we release all such vows taken consciously and unconsciously that have blocked the flow of goodness in our lives in a way that we could not do at another time.
Though we do not eat, we do not wash, we pray all day, we are happy for we experience paradoxically that the restrictions of Yom Kippur do not make us enslaved or limited, but actually make us free, enabling us to become the kind of vessel who is able to receive the transmission of awesome holiness, love and forgiveness of the day. On Yom Kippur, we do not eat physical food but rather we are fed heavenly manna of love. We do not wash for we are bathed in divine compassion. On Yom Kippur, our slate is wiped clean. We are like new born babes, ready to be ushered into the succah for seven days of coddling and fun with Hashem and each other.
In Hebrew,’ to sin” means ” to miss the mark.” Human beings in Judaism are not considered sinful, rather they may think, feel, and do things that are not in keeping with their true nature and this is what is meant by sin. Because sin does not emanate from the true essence of human beings, bur rather results from a false identification with the ego mind, it is easy to relinquish what is not attached to our true essence when we realize who we really are.
Everything on Yom Kippur is designed to facilitate this kind of psychological and emotional release which opens us to the clarity of who we really are. Out of our willingness to feel our brokenness and vulnerability, we become stronger and more whole. We are in essence divine holy beings with pure shining loving souls. We simply need to let go of limiting, illusory and false concepts of the self that we have misidentified as ourselves.
It is a tremendous gift to pray in a congregation on Yom Kippur for what we can do together is greater than what we can do alone. To be in the company of people who are strong enough to acknowledge that they are vulnerable human being and as people have all made mistakes is a powerful bonding experience. We also receive much more Divine light and grace when we feel responsible for the community than we would as isolated individuals.”
The preceding words of Torah were excerpts from my book, Kabbalah Month by Month. Please feel free to share these teachings with others while respecting the copyright of them. Invite them to join this email list.
May we each be blessed with such a joyful holy Yom Kippur that we feel so full from receiving the heavenly manna of love and revelation of the Shechinah on this holy day that we have no desire for anything else. This would truly be an easy fast. May we feel washed clean of all the inner and external barriers that have limited us in the past and claim our selves as the pure and holy souls and wonderful beings that we really are. May our prayers also help remove some of the impurities and negativities in the world as well.
May we each create such a powerful vortex of light around us that everyone in our path is lifted up by our radiance and love.
This is going to be an amazing year of miracles. As my teacher Reb Shlomo of blessed memory would say
” There is no other way”. We will see miracles this coming year, personally and collectively.
Love and blessings, Melinda Mindy