As we get set to start the Holiday of Yo0m Kippur this evening, I think back to conversations I have had with friends over the years. While many disagree with me, I truly feel that Yom Kippur has a special feel, a special flavor about it and just like the rest of the Jewish Holiday, it is enjoyable.
Yes, the Holiday has it challenges. Yes, it is hard to refrain from all the things you are supposed to on Yom Kippur. Still, there is a good feeling, at least for me there is, about doing it, being able to do it, wanting to do it.
Some of my friends have said what they like about the Holiday is they get to catch up with other synagogue people they have not seen since last year at this time. That is not what does it for me. If you can get yourself in the proper frame of mind ( and that can me more easily said than done) the awesomeness, the awe inspiring message of the day is very powerful.
In fact, in times gone by, many people did not view this as a sad day. If you take a look at what we do on this day, it is not viewed as a sad day (that is reserved for Tisha B’Av). For instance, we say a Scheheh’he’anu on this day. On days of mourning, on sad days on the Jewish Calendar, that prayer is not said.
On this Holiday, there truly is a feeling that we will be given for our sins, that we get a chance to start all over again, and that G-d wants us to return from our ways of the past year that are less than perfect. As the liturgy says, “like a parent (father) has compassion upon his children, please have compassion on us”. It is a very powerful idea. Forgiveness is a wonderful concept, so is the idea of being able to start with a clean slate.
Once again, I wish everyone the best for the New Year. May we all be signed and sealed for a year of health, happiness, blessing and goodness, and may we all be able to help others experience those same feelings over the New Year.