Wednesday, September 26, 2012

To Err, Human

Today is Yom Kippur, one of the most sacred days in the Jewish calendar.  I've talked about it on the blog before - here and here - but only in gastronomical terms; you fast on Yom Kippur, you see, so of course you think about food all day.  But there's really much more to it than that. The High Holy Days are the most significant opportunities for observance in Jewish tradition.  On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, God inscribes every person's fate in the Book of Life and then, on Yom Kippur, the verdict is sealed.  During the intermediary ten days, Jews examine their actions from the past year, amend their behavior, and ask forgiveness for any wrongs done.  The Old Testament God can be pretty harsh, but this seems transcendentally kind.  We're given a window for introspection before we ask for absolution - we're given a space to search our souls to discover what we have done and what we have not done, intentionally or otherwise, and we're given an opportunity to truly understand our sins before asking forgiveness.

photo taken September 17, 2012; Suffolk, England

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were always afforded this kindness?  We are so quick to be hurt, so quick to judge, so quick to condemn - to forgive is divine, indeed, but it would be infinitely more productive if we gave each other a moment to appreciate the consequences of our actions.  Then we could truly understand the depth and breadth of how we interact with those around us and, together, we could move forward with grace. Wedding Wednesdays will resume next week, dear readers, but I thought that this was an especially important reflection as I prepare to get married and share my life with another.


  1. Very interesting, Betsy! I really enjoyed your reflection - something to think about this Wednesday morning.

  2. I had no idea that you were Jewish!! It's always been something that has really interested me! I love this post. It definitely hits me today with some things that have been going on.

  3. When I learned about Yom Kippur it joined a long list of things in/about Judaism that just fit my brain. I'm not Jewish, but I get teased (lovingly!) by my family and friends that I might as well be. It is such a gracious holiday in both the act of and awareness of needing forgiveness. Lovely picture, too :)

  4. I think it's relevant always, but it's good to have a day to focus on it. I hope it helps you today!


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