Randy's Corner Deli Library

08 October 2008

Yom Kippur 5769

Tonight begins Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement for Jews all over the world. As I write this, people in Europe and Israel are bedded down for the night having already gone to services. The fast, to remind us of G-d's power and our own faults, is in full swing.

And so it is that in a few hours we on the West Coast will enter into what is supposed to be the most sincere, unbridled owning up to our own faults, praying to Gd that we will be sealed in the book of life - and avoid some awful fate - for yet another year, despite our sins and failures, personal, social, familial, moral and otherwise. For me, it represents the time of my soul's crying out for help to the only One that can do anything about the state of affairs that I find myself - and that we all find ourselves in at the moment, regardless of the cause. We all need a shoulder to cry on to let the pain of life out of our bodies and minds.

We confess all our sins before Gd; to really return to Him, to ask for guidance from the Shekhinah, for shelter from ourselves and ultimately to understand that we are not masters of our own destinies and that control is only real when we use our imaginations and memories to affect the future.

If there is a plan, I have yet to see it, but allow me to observe that so far, despite diagnosis after diagnosis, whatever this life is supposed to be about, it certainly could be a lot worse despite everything. For in the end, it is the power of our own minds to comprehend the significance of our Creator and, to borrow from Heschel, to comprehend the immanence of life and the awesome power that exists in the Universe we live in to create, sustain and destroy life as we know it which matters most.

What are we at this time of year if not grateful for all that we have? What are we if we do not understand the duality of a life that can be so beautiful and yet so oftentimes horrible? There is a lesson for dialectic thinkers like me - that on days like today, when the mind turns away from business and money to thoughts of the everafter and the time and space between this life and the next - the moment when our souls leave this earth and are welcomed to the next life, when we return, really return, to where we came from. And with that contemplation understand the wonderful nature of this life as a journey along the cosmological road to everlasting peace and tranquility, to the source of all life, from whence we came and to which we will return forever.

Between now and then, I hope and pray that I will be forgiven for all the sins I have committed against everyone this year, to be inscribed in the book of Life and for my Mitchell to likewise be so remembered and inscribed. For in him, as with all our children, is my legacy to this life; it is in him, and B"H in his children, that the necessity of my, our, really living this life for all it is worth, in an honorable and decent way with purity of purpose, truth and excellence that I, we, will be remembered as having been here in the first place. Any less an effort is an affront to Gd. And therefore to ourselves.

An easy fast to all.

L'shana tovah v' gmar chatimah tovah,

Randy Shiner

No comments: