My Week Old Yom Kippur Vow


It’s been a week since the Holy Days!  One down, 51 to go! This is my Vidui, the confession I shared on Yom Kippur evening immediately before Kol Nidre.

Take note of this room, this 108-year-old sanctuary.
Imagine those who have sought sanctuary in this room for over a century.
Take time to look at the people who now fill this room on this holiest of holy evenings.
Together with millions of Jews around the world we have gathered for Yom Kippur.
Some seeking forgiveness, others giving forgiveness.
Some choosing to move forward, others to turn back.
Some to reconcile, others to separate.
Some to confess, others to deny.
Some to do the hard work, others to take a pass.
For the next 25 hours, we are challenged to be open.
To be honest with our choices.
Here is my confession.

     On this night of Kol Nidre
     On this night of holy vows

I confess that I have messed up.
In my desire, passion and zeal to please and achieve,
I have fallen short by not practicing what I preach.
I have bent over backward to be kind and open.
To act with integrity and pursue that which is just.
And yet, I have fallen short; way short.
In my efforts to please others,
I have failed and cheated myself of the only gift I can truly give…
To be kind and generous, to honor myself.
I have fallen short by not showering myself with unconditional love

     On this night of Kol Nidre
     On this night of holy vows

I vow in the coming year to stand my ground when it’s safer to acquiesce.
To embrace my truth when it’s easier to bend.
To follow my heart instead of the crowd.
To say yes, and mean YES,
and no, and mean NO.

     On this night of Kol Nidre
     On this night of holy vows

I accept that even with my best intentions to honor myself,
to be good to myself, treat myself better,
I will likely mess up, backslide, falter,
and do precisely what I vowed not to do.
That I will open my arms, when I promised to be more guarded
That I will hold on to those who wish to stay, when I should let them go.
That I will open my eyes to unkind words
and my ears to insensitive critiques

     On this night of Kol Nidre
     On this night of holy vows

I vow to turn to me
and say what no one else can –
I love me.
To return to the only person
I can love unconditionally
Myself.

     On this night of Kol Nidre
     This is my holy vow   

+