Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy New Year!

One of my favorite holidays just came and went.  And it feels weird to talk about Yom Kippur as being a favorite, or even positive holiday, but it is true.  For those who don't know (because maybe you live under a rock... sorry that was harsh because I am Jewish and therefore know these holidays, but I digress). For those who don't know there are two major Jewish holidays that take place in September/October (because they use a lunar calendar so the date changes slightly every year).  The first is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  We welcome in the New Year and wish everyone a sweet new year, by eating apples & honey. 

Then there are 10 days.  10 days of atonement.  10 days of saying you are sorry.  For asking for forgiveness for the things we have done wrong, thought badly, and for hurting others whether intentionally or unintentionally.  And this is the part I enjoy.  There is something about this part of the holiday which is freeing and uplifting (not the wrong words at all).  So it is just a matter of calling the people who mean something to you and apologizing for anything you might have done in the last year that hurt them.  (DISCLAIMER - this year I failed at this and didn't make the phone calls, and for that I am sorry.)

Yom Kippur is on day 10.  This is the day when after having asked forgiveness from the people we care about, we ask God for forgiveness as well.  One of my favorite parts of the service says:
"For transgressions against God, the Day of Atonement atones; but for transgressions of one human being against another, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another."
The more well known part of this holiday is the fact that we fast on this holiday.  We refrain from engaging in activities that give us pleasure so that we can focus on asking for forgiveness and forgiving others.  We refrain from eating, bathing, and sex.  In doing so, we can focus on the task at hand and not be distracted from all the day-to-day nonsense. 

There was something about this Yom Kippur that was very different for me.  It felt more profound.  Which is strange because I was away from home and looking for a local synagogue (which I might have found after a non-holiday visit) and I did not truly fast (because of a medication I am taking - no worries, nothing serious). I missed my family.  I missed being with the community I know.  But I enjoyed not having the distractions of those same people.  I was able to focus on my apologies and hopes for the New Year. 

So after all this there are just two things I want to say.
If I have done anything to offend you, I am sorry.  Whether it was by my actions or by my words, I did not mean to harm you or hurt you in any way.  I know words can feel harmless and change after they sit awhile.  I am sorry for any misunderstandings. 
Also, have a wonderful and happy New Year.  May it be a sweet and wonderful New Year. 

---PS--- and no that apology does not count for the people I still need to call, but I dropped my phone in the toilet and I am waiting for the replacement to arrive in the mail.  True story.

Love you, D

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