Yom Kippur – a time of reflection
On Sunday night, Yom Kippur begins at sundown. The erev Yom Kippur (evening of Yom Kippur) service is called Kol Nidre after the legal declaration absolving everyone of their vows from the past year. The song is hauntingly beautiful and the image of everyone standing, traditionally wearing white, holding all of the Torah scrolls in front of the open ark (holy cabinet that holds the Torah scrolls) sets the stage for the 25 hours of Yom Kippur’s confessions, prayers, reflections, and atonement.
The song that started KabShab today is a modern interpretation of the unetaneh tokef poem, a poem that is said on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. The line that is significant for me is “But repentance, prayer and righteousness avert the severe decree.” With our actions, we can change our fate. Here’s a link to the version by Leonard Cohen (z”l).
Another prayer unique to the Yamim Noraim (days of awe) is the vidui (confession). There are short and long versions, private and public versions. I invite you to think about this modern version, a Vidui for Racism, as our country reflects on its own.
G’mar hatima tova.
May you all be sealed in the book of life for the upcoming year.
- Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?
- Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?
- Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?
- Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?
- Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.
- Describe one thing you’d like to achieve by this time next year. Why is this important to you?
- How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?
- Is there something (a person, a cause, an idea) that you want to investigate more fully in the coming year?
- What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?
- When September 2021 rolls around and you receive your answers to your 10Q questions, how do you think you’ll feel? What do you think/hope might be different about your life and where you’re at as a result of thinking about and answering these questions?