Today is Yom Kippur. It is a day of reckoning, which is the most demanding form of love. This ceremony of atonement sprang from a time when the ancestors felt so abandoned by Gd that they began to worship false idols out of desperation. Thus a mystical ritual evolved in which sins of faithlessness—which at heart are all sins—were purified through repentance and fasting so that divine light might return.
Typically I avoid fasting, but this biblical practice seemed right for these biblical times. Thirsty and hungry, I spent the afternoon by the river praying and meditating. Atoning for how, over these last months of upheaval and unrest, I’ve abandoned myself and others—have shut down and obfuscated due to overwhelm.
By her banks I reflected on how, throughout history, my line–many lines–have survived times far harder than these by staying present and toiling hard. By keeping the faith. And so I asked the river to teach me to model her love—steadfast, strong, eternally flowing, beautifully boundaried. Tonight, after breaking fast, I will revisit her beneath the nearly full moon to wash away my remaining fear and faithlessness. To return my tears.
I do not expect to feel instantly saved. But I do expect to feel lighter. And I invite you to join me in the release of true reckoning in whatever way works for you. Because as long as we are still gifted with life, we are also gifted with divine light and love, and must meet it halfway. There is nothing more hopeful than that. G’mar chatima tova.
Art: Marc Chagall