Friday, September 17, 2010

My Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur starts at sundown this evening, and, as it does every year, starts off with me feeling strongly tied to my heritage, ready to be one with my roots and ready to lose a few pounds.

But I kid -- about the last part.

For those who don't know what this holiday, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, means to a Jew, let me give you some insight. It is our Day of Atonement. It is the day we use to remind ourselves of how we act every other day of the year. It is the day where not eating, drinking and watching TV or using other electronic devices (bye-bye Twitter and Blogger - for 25-ish hours!) leaves us open to recognize true details of our being.

At least, this is mostly what the day represents to me. The atonement part, yes, it is true. We can use this day - and we should - to atone for the mistakes and hurt we have caused over the past year. The pain we may have inflicted on others with our own actions, despite no ill-intent, or with it, I suppose.

This day, a few years back, is the day I took to write to two very close friends I had no spoken with nor seen in some time. I used it to write a letter to each of them, apologizing for my actions or inaction that may have hurt them. You know what it got me? Two less friends. Ah, c'est la vie, right?

And funny as it may seem, here I am, this year, on the Eve of the holiday, trying to decide if I should reach out to two other friends. Try to address a gap that has formed between us due to things they think I have done but I haven't. And as much as I want to gather up the motivation to do it, to apologize for having upset or offended them, I just don't have that gumption right now. Maybe it's because I've been burned before? Maybe it's just where I am at right now? Have I grown? I'd like to think so. Will I continue to grow? Yes. Absolutely. We all do. We all will.

So I'll take a moment here, my good friends, dear readers, to apologize if I've ever offended you with my words, ignored your comments and in any way hurt you while you perused my pages. That has never been my intent. I blog because I am me. I use this space for myself. And yes, often I think, well, if they don't like it, they won't read it. But I never set out to truly hurt. Never set out with intent to offend. I'm just me. Take me or leave me.

I suppose that this is not in the spirit of the holiday to some extent. I suppose I should truly be apologizing, but at the same time, while I am sorry if I *did* offend, I'm also trying to say that here, in my space ... pretty much the only space that I have that is completely and 100% mine ... I am going to be me. I am going to possibly offend others by being more open than they would like, or hurt someone's feelings when I laugh at something that they find too serious, or, well, you get me.

So, for those of you fasting and / or observing the holiday in any way, I wish you a blessed New Year and a quick and easy fast. For the rest of you out there, I remind you that this day is extremely special and significant for many of us. And should you choose to observe it with us in some way, we welcome you. And if you don't, that's okay, too. But for everyone out there, I use this as a small reminder that it doesn't take a high holy day to stop, reflect and offer yourself up to those around you.

Gut Yontiff - גוט יום-טוב


  1. It's certainly never easy to put yourself out there. I admire you for even considering a repeat, and if you do decide to touch base w/ those friends, I hope they are ready to receive your words :-)

  2. You've inspired me to reach out to a couple of my own friends whom I have been neglecting. I think I'll take some time to do that this weekend. One of them is Jewish as well, so perhaps she'll be more understanding as she observes Yom Kippur. I hope you have a satisfying day of reflection, and if you do reach out to your other friends, I hope they are more receptive to you.

  3. It is never easy to apologize. You have done a great job by reaching out. Enjoy your Day of Atonement. My family comes from the Jewish decent and I am always intrigued to learn more like my father did when he was a child.

  4. One of my favorite things about you is that you are who you are. We will "see" you at the end of Yom Kippur...

  5. I think it's lovely how you are acknowledging the day and inviting others to join in or respect it. I'm not even Jewish, but somehow this post touched me...feeling warm-fuzzy...

  6. That's lovely. Yes, I too can stand reflection. Also, although I am not Jewish, I am seriously considering starting Shabbos on Friday center the family, and spend time unplugged and connected.


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