If you’re familiar with the Twelve Steps, the days from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur are like doing steps 4-9: taking a moral inventory of oneself (we don’t get to inventory anyone else; bummer), admitting our mistakes–especially the ones we keep repeating, making amends to the humans we have harmed and, finally, re-turning to God. Because, let’s face it, most of us turn away from what is right, sometimes several times a day, and as a result we feel fractioned. Our destination on Yom Kippur is that sense of wholeness, home. Returning to God, Whom, we discover, has been there all the time, waiting.
The Yom Kippur prayers are beautiful. So many of them tell us that we are human, with human traits that are both positive and negative. We do not expect to levitate above our humanity; we’ll be here again next year, God willing, asking for forgiveness for mistakes we have made, vows we have broken, potential that went unfulfilled. But hopefully we will have done better. We will have consciously tried, anyway.
Perhaps the best part of this process is that we do it together, as a community of souls. Saying the prayers together is a reminder that no one is any better or worse than her neighbor–of any faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, et al. If we’ve turned away, we make the decision to turn back. And God will accept us again…still…in our brokenness and our beauty.
Parenting at its best.