Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Asking for Forgiveness After Yom Kippur

I don't like being forced into things spiritually. I don't know if other people can relate to what I'm saying. If you do then please tell me, I'd love to know someone else feels like I do. It's possible that it's all part of a larger issue I have, which is not liking to be told what to do. Problem with authority I think they call it. It's not that I'm a disrespectful person. I have tremendous respect for people, but usually only people who have earned that respect.

When I was in high school I didn't automatically respect my teacher or principal. I needed to see that they were worthy of respect. I needed to see that they were good people and fair people. I needed to see that I would be getting something in return for that respect.

When it comes to my frumkeit I believe I have trouble moving away from that philosophy. Hashem should get my respect no matter what. He doesn't have to earn it, and even if he did, by all means, he created me and gave me so much, that in it itself should deserve respect.

But no matter how hard I try when it comes to certain things I still don't like to be forced into it. I don't like to do something just because we are told to, or because everyone else is doing it. When Erev Yom Kippur came around people were coming over to me with the same typical lines I hear every year. "I hope you will forgive me if I didn't anything wrong to you or offended or upset you in any way" Ya ya, wonderful, where is that will to make up 6 months from now.

Do these robotic trading of words actually mean anything? Aren't we saying them just because "it's that time of the year" and how insincere is that. I know most people mean it, and I know that even though it is "that" time of the year still people take it as a jump start to make amends with people they have wronged. But for me its just so hard to penetrate me.

I find it so hard to take these things seriously. Then Yom Kippur comes and goes and just like that we move from two incredibly holy and meaningful days to 8 days where the big tradition is eating in an outdoor hut and shaking palm branches and lemons.

It's like we turn off the switch so fast between Yom Kippur and Succos.

So here we are, and here I am. Still fighting the internal struggle of forcing myself to atone for my sins and make amends with those who I haven't got along with even though Yom Kippur is over and in a few days I'll be shaking a palm branch.

Do other people think about the spiritual efforts we underwent a few days ago today? How do we carry our determination to change into a holiday that seems to be so different yet so close in time.

Maybe the lesson to learn here is that Hashem is teaching us that we can't hold on to things. We have to teach ourselves to move on. Yom Kippur is as good a time as any to push ourselves to make up for our wrongs. Not because "were told we have to" but because why not, it doesn't hurt to have a designated time to let go of any grudged or disagreements.

Look at Hashem, he goes from a serious time when he judges all of his creations to a few days later when he wants us to just dance and be happy for what we have. Simchas Torah is so close to Yom Kippur but it couldn't be any different in terms of it's seriousness.

So I once again ask that if I upset or wronged anyone, I hope you will forgive me. Not because you have to, in fact Yom Kippur is over so you have 11 months and change not to forgive me. But because I don't want to hold on to anything.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another Yom Kippur

So here we are on the verge of yet another Yom Kippur. I don't mean that to sound negative, it is just hard to believe that yet another year has come and gone. Time moves at an unreal pace. Sometimes it feels like the good is a blink and the bad is eternal and then again it feels like the exact opposite.

Today I will spend large chunks of time preparing myself mentally for the day to come. It is both sad and somber, happy and joyful. It is a time in which I feel crazed and calm. My heart aches and my soul is singing.

The contradictions of life and death lie before me and I do what I can to reconcile it all. I'll not make this a long post. Let's pray that this is the year in which no children go hungry and we find cures for the diseases that rob us of our loved ones.

Let's pray that for an end to the bloodshed and the promotion of hate and look for a better world.

And should none of that come on a global scale I'll ask that Ha-Kodesh Baruch Hu give these blessings to some, if not all.

G'mar Chatima Tova.