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  • Writer's pictureAnat Ishai

Yom Kippur POV: I don't just want to live, I want to thrive!

It's not over, we are still in the unknown....wandering the metaphorical desert of our current lives and seeking refuge and comfort in what we can control. The world is forever changed and we have changed with it. Social unrest, extremist uprising, polarizing opinions and blatant disrespect for our fellow man. I pray for the day when we can look at one another as brother and sister and not enemy and foe.

Perhaps the most difficult battle these days is the one happening inside of us.

What are our values? And what are they rooted in? If we can't explain it, does that mean it doesn't exist? And if we can't understand it, does it lose it's value? We are approaching Yom Kippur, the most important day in the Jewish calendar. It's the one day of the entire calendar that all Jews know about. Yom Kippur (the day of Atonement) is a fast day, no leather is worn, we do not anoint ourselves with perfumes or fragrances, no makeup, no intimate relations, no food, no water. A day to stand with G-d and atone for all our sins.

A day most dreaded by many of us Jews, but also an immense opportunity....if taken. We know the day will be difficult because of the discomfort signaled by the emptiness in our stomachs. We are so used to Uber Eats, Instacart and many of the other conveniences gifted to us in the modern world. But what is really lacking in us these days is not nourishment of carbs, fats and proteins. What's lacking in our world is soul, connection and truth!

We have been sheltering our selves this past year, so worried about making sure our bodies are protected. But have we done enough to ensure the nourishment of our G-d given souls. We are to stand before the ultimate judge on Yom Kippur and ask for complete forgiveness from the creator for not becoming who we were meant to be this year. We missed so many opportunities for connection not only with people, but with ourselves. We let the situation of the past year take over our rationale selves, our anxiety increased and our faith in humanity decreased. We judged our fellow man unfavorably and perhaps worse, we judged ourselves too harshly.

Yom Kippur, we get a chance to rectify it all. We get to cleanse our bodies of its basic needs, and fill our soul with it's essential needs. We get to be still in silence, or amongst our tribe and declare to G-d "Forgive me for my sins". In doing so, we begin to clean the stains covering our true selves. We say the book of life will be sealed as the Yom Kippur service ends with the "neilah prayer" and a shofar blast, but what does the seal mean? Being inscribed in the book of life is not just about living! It's about thriving! It's about looking inside and saying I will not settle for mediocrity, I will not live insincerely, I will not diminish my light because others are blinded by it. This Yom Kippur we vow to atone for all of our sins, and we come to the creator with a full heart and the right intentions so that when we ask to be sealed in the book of life....we ask and merit to live the next year unveiling the potential of life within us. May we all merit to thrive in another year and live a wholehearted life.

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