Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur

Starting tonight, all the Jews in the world are going to get a bit grumpy.

You see, tonight is the start of Yom Kippur -- the Day of Atonement. Aka: The day when Jews fast for a full 24 hours.

We do this so we can literally cleanse our bodies and start fresh physically (and hopefully mentally) for the new year.

I like the idea behind this holiday, but obviously I am not a huge fan of the fasting part. However, I do take it seriously and try to reflect on my sins and promise not to repeat them again.

On Rosh Hashanah last week, the Rabbi at my temple gave an incredible sermon. Like most Rabbis, he encouraged the congregation to reflect on their. However, my Rabbi took it a step further and offered some advice on how to do that -- and this little piece of advice has stuck with me for a week:

"In order to find the deeper 'you,' you need to crush the idea you already have of yourself."

Like WHAT?!?!? How do you "crush" your self image? Is that even safe?

But then an hour later, it hit me, and I realized that is the best piece of advice I have heard since my father told me, "just suck it up and do it."

So I really wanted to materialize the Rabbi's advice -- and this is where the writing came in. I sat down and wrote a couple words and phrases I would use to describe myself:

funny, flirty, passionate, trustworthy, loyal, heartless, cold, defensive, aggressive, caring, honest, better friend than sister, better mentor than mentee, better follower than leader, spiritual but realistic, has 100% faith in G-d but accepts when things don't always work out, motivated and determined ....etc.

So yes, I was pretty honest. I wanted my faults on the page as much as the positives. Once I got a list I was satisfied with, I "crushed" it' -- I literally rolled it up and threw it in the trash.

It was one of the weirdest things I have ever done. But, it led to my epiphany....

None of the characters in the books I read posses the qualities I listed. They are different. They do things I wish I could experience for myself.

Now don't get me wrong -- I have zero regrets in life and I am very proud of the person I am today. But, there are areas of my personality I have yet to unleash. And those are the characteristics I want to list on paper next year.

So that's my goal for this coming year: try to make my list a little longer, and something I don't want to throw away.

And I suggest you do the same.



  1. The rabbi's speech was questionable but the message was good:

    "We are here not only to improve ourselves but also to improve the world; To act as G-ds hands and fight against oppression and despair"

  2. Rabbi David Meyer, from Temple Emanu-El wrote a great speech on the controversial issue over the Ground Zero mosque --