Today is the start of Yom Kippur—the only Jewish holiday that’s not about eating.
In fact it’s about NOT eating. For people who aren’t Jewish, often that’s all they know about Yom Kippur— we spend an entire day fasting, no food,no water.
The real meaning of the Day of Atonement goes beyond our stomachs, to our hearts. We don’t eat because we spend the day atoning — asking for forgiveness from God and anyone we’ve wronged in the past year.
This is where it pays to be Jewish rather than Catholic—it’s far easier and more efficient to confess your sins once a year rather than once a week. Seriously.
I do take this day seriously although I’m not an observant Jew— a Day of Atonement and forgiveness is a beautiful tradition.
The abstract concept felt very real when our rabbi would take time out of the service, telling us that if there was someone in the congregation we had wronged in the past year, to go to them and ask their forgiveness.
In the past this was easy— I would just turn to my kids. As a neurotic Jewish mother, I always had a list.
I still have a list—although the kids aren’t around for me to ask forgiveness in person. And the list for my husband would be too long to cover in one day. Plus he doesn’t observe Yom Kippur—mainly because he’s not Jewish.
I decided this year, since we’re in the digital age, to add a virtual version of forgiveness. So I hope you’ll forgive me if over the past year I’ve offended you; whether I know you or not. Even if I wrote something that offended you which wasn’t intentional (according to Jewish law, it still matters even if I didn’t mean it.)
I’m really grateful for all the years I’ve been inscribed in the Book of Life and I hope I’ll be inscribed another year. Whether or not you observe Yom Kippur, I wish the same for you.