In Judaism, the holiest day of the entire year is a holiday called Yom Kippur, which is a 25 hour fast day where we pray (a lot), wear white, dream about bagels and lox and shmear, and then pray some more. You’re also supposed to ask for people’s forgiveness for anything you might have done in the past year, and forgive those who are asking you for forgiveness. Fine. But Judaism doesn’t do anything half-assed. All this praying, all this forgiveness seeking? It’s all to ensure that you’re written into the Book of Life. Life. As in, if you don’t get written in this book, you’re dying this year. It all seems a little overly dramatic, doesn’t it? But as I sit here, three hours into the fast, with 22 hours left to go, (By the way, just thought I’d slip in a quick author’s note… it’s three hours into the fast and I’m already hungry.) I realized that if we stopped treating Yom Kippur as an additional piece of our schedule and started treating it as a transcendent pocket of time that supersedes every day life and exists outside of our busy schedules and daily routines, Yom Kippur wouldn’t be dismissed as so archaic.
I got apologies via text message today. Text message. Obviously this is very in and very this generation, doing everything electronically. Very faceless. I kind of get sad, because Yom Kippur is a really hard holiday and a very introspective holiday and for us to demean it by making it another reason for a facebook status or tweet is just another tick mark for the end of eloquence and human interaction. Of course I’m probably not one to talk, seeing as I typed this on my computer while fasting, but as I sat in services this morning looking around at the different sort of people that come in for this holiest of holy days, I found myself reminding my subconscious of the sheer magnificence that is Yom Kippur. I think we, myself included, have sort of drifted from the core of today. It seems many of us have begun to see this day as a “clean my slate” day, doing out duty by ridding our conscious of everything weighing us down. We’ve lost the elevated sense of self, the closer to G-d, holy feeling. It’s very personal, and very much forgotten. I don’t know, I’m still fumbling around with it myself. Have you done everything you could this past year? For yourself, for life, did you try your hardest? This Yom Kippur, I hope everyone took a moment out of apologizing via text message and atoning via tweet to just think for a minute as to why we do this every year. Reflect. Cleanse your system of the negative. Clear stomach, clear mind, right?
Even though I’m a few hours late, I hope everyone had an easy fast, and a good start to the new year!