According to the Rabbis, our fate is written on Rosh Hashana, however it can be changed before it is sealed on Yom Kippur. To influence G-d to change our fate for the better, we use the Ten Days of Repentance in between RH and YK to apologize to everyone we have intentionally or unintentionally hurt during the past year. It is said that we are to apologize three times and if our apology is not accepted by the third offering, we are now owed the apology…
I have a friend who writes down everything in his day planner. Each date has what news story he was assigned at work, if his ex wife dropped off his kids that day, if he jogged and how far, who he ate dinner with, etc., etc.
And on Yom Kippur, when he is in shul all day, he looks through the calendar and tries to recall each and every day clearly in his mind. Each and every single day from the entire year.
When you look back on all 365 days this year, can you remember each day? Have you been keeping track of your successes and your serious fuck ups?
What did you do to hurt your friends, your family, yourself? What are you most ashamed of this year? What is the worst sin you committed?
Who was good to you this year? Who made you smile? Who made you cry? Did you lose someone close to you? Did you really wish someone who was once in your life, who wasn’t there this year had been around?
What did you accomplish that you are proud of? What obstacles did you hurdle over?
When I lived in the states, YK didn’t really move me, didn’t strike a nerve. There is something about being in Jerusalem now that really makes my mind, body and soul swallow down this day, it’s almost eerie.
I challenge you to sit down and really dig deep. Answer the questions I have asked you. I really want to know. Leave a comment, I’ll even write you back if you want.
With that being said, this is an excerpt from my favorite prayer of the High Holy Days; it is sung several times on both RH and YK and, seems to put this “Day of Awe,” into perspective:
×”×©× ×” ×™×›×ª×‘×•×Ÿ, ×•×‘×™×•× ×¦×•× ×›×¤×•×¨ ×™×—×ª×ž×•×Ÿ, ×›×ž×” ×™×¢×‘×¨×•×Ÿ, ×•×›×ž×” ×™×‘×¨××•×Ÿ; ×ž×™ ×™×—×™×” ×•×ž×™ ×™×ž×•×ª, ×ž×™ ×‘×§×¦×• ×•×ž×™ ×œ× ×‘×§×¦×•, ×ž×™ ×‘×ž×™×, ×•×ž×™ ×‘××©, ×ž×™ ×‘×—×¨×‘, ×•×ž×™ ×‘×—×™×”, ×ž×™ ×‘×¨×¢×‘, ×•×ž×™ ×‘×¦×ž×, ×ž×™ ×‘×¨×¢×©, ×•×ž×™ ×‘×ž×’×¤×”, ×ž×™”
“.×‘×—× ×™×§×”, ×•×ž×™ ×‘×¡×§×™×œ×”, ×ž×™ ×™× ×•×— ×•×ž×™ ×™× ×•×¢, ×ž×™ ×™×©×§×˜ ×•×ž×™ ×™×˜×¨×£, ×ž×™ ×™×©×œ×• ×•×ž×™ ×™×ª×™×¡×¨, ×ž×™ ×™×¢× ×™ ×•×ž×™ ×™×¢×©×¨, ×ž×™ ×™×©×¤×œ ×•×ž×™ ×™×¨×•× ×•×ª×©×•×‘×” ×•×ª×¤×œ×” ×•×¦×“×§×” ×ž×¢×‘×™×¨×™×Ÿ ××ª ×¨×¢ ×”×’×–×¨×”
“On Rosh HaShana they are written, And on Tsom Yom Kippur they are sealed. How many shall pass, and how many created: Who shall live and who shall die; Who in their time and who not in their time; Who by water And who by fire; Who by the sword And who by a beast; Who by hunger And who by thirst; Who by disaster And who by sickness; Who by strangling And who by stoning; Who will rest And who will wander; Who will be go peacefully And who will go violently; Who will be calm And who will be harried; Who will be poor And who will be rich; Who will be degraded And who will be exalted. By repentance, prayer and charity Remove the evil of the decree.”
Why don’t you try keeping a detailed calendar this year? Perhaps next YK you will have a record of how you spent the year and maybe, it will be the best year you have ever had.
G’mar Chatimah Tovah people. I’m hoping that 5768 will be the best year you have spent on the planet thus far.