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The Hope of Atonement

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

Kadish for the Queen: RBG, 1933-2020

Ruth Bader Ginsberg did her very best–which is so much more than can be said of most people and was more than anyone ever could have asked, especially since she was likely far sicker for longer than she let on. What we did know was that she’d suffered through four bouts of cancer. That she’d done more for woman’s rights–for human rights–than anyone in American judicial history.

And that she worked until her death to preserve what was left of American democracy.

It hurts so much to think she probably died thinking she was failing us. These are the darkest times any of us can remember and I am only shored by the idea that she took leave now, on the good wind of a new year and a new moon, so her massive energetic force could be even more powerful from the other side. You may find such a notion magical thinking but practical magic is what we have left now.

According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began yesterday, is a tzadik, a person of great righteousness. Let the bleat of the shofar, the ram’s horn that announces the Jewish New Year, rouse us to speak for those with no voice. May Justice Ginsberg’s light and fortitude continue to guide us through these treacherous times, and may we honor her legacy today and every day of this new year.

Astro PSA: New Moon in Virgo

A new moon rose at 4am EST today, but you’d be forgiven for sleeping through it. The sun is also in this sign, and Virgo, while occasionally a nag, has a beautiful bedside manner. Yes, there’s big change in the air—a sudden autumnal crispness, the blessing (mitzvah!) of tomorrow’s Jewish New Year, the terror looming on the American landscape. But this new moon is less about fireworks and full-steam-ahead energy than subtle transitions.

Trining soul-builder Saturn squaring a retrograding Mars, it’s here to nudge us into modest but meaningful shifts, especially in areas of work and communication. So meditate for a minute on small tweaks that can improve the state of your life and the collective good. Can you call swing state voters? Walk a daily, unplugged mile outdoors? Learn a new recipe rather than order more takeout? Grocery shop for an overwhelmed neighbor? While the world is exploding all around us, let’s cultivate this new moon’s slow-moving service and grace. Because sometimes the subtle shifts are the most powerful.

To harness this supportive new-moon energy, book a reading for yourself or a loved one. To be added to my newsletter, send on your email address.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy