January 22, 2019

The genius of Yom Kippur: Closeness.

Sin can be defined as transgression, but ultimately it causes distance.

When we go against God’s commandments, we distant ourselves from God.

When we wrong another human being, we distant ourselves from that person and from God.

In Hine Ma Tov, we sing, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Rumi’s poetry starts with the opening line “listen to the reed how it complains of separations.”

We starve our bodies to remind ourselves that we are spiritual beings with a temporary physical experience, not physical bodies with a temporary spiritual experience.

On Yom Kippur, we ask for forgiveness, as we draw closer to God.

We draw closer to each other by saying “I’m sorry I hurt you, I was wrong.”

We are all cocooned in temples, no food, praying, swaying, singing together, in the same direction.

The only way back to God is through the gate of the heart of our neighbor.

We look at each other and confess that none of us is perfect.  We are all broken.

There is closeness in honesty.

In closeness, in unity, in oneness, we get a taste of eternity, of being with God.  How sweet it is.  And suddenly the words of the song “I didn't know I was starving until I tasted you” take on a mystical meaning.

Slowly, surely, the broken notes of the Shofar become whole.

May it be a healthy and sweet year.