Yom Kippur will never be the same for me, and although I am told it was a mitzvah (blessing) that my mother passed on Yom Kippur Eve, the holiday and the Day of Anointment take on a whole new meaning.
As a young girl, it was tradition to observe the High Holidays. From the time I was old enough to attend what they called “Junior Services,” I, just like my older brothers and our parents participated in the ritual of asking for forgiveness. It was this act and speaking it from the heart that would gain G-d’s attention and write our name in the Book of Life. For the many years I did not attend High Holiday services as an adult I practiced this ritual silently. I also followed a custom my parents believed in, and that is to ask for forgiveness if you do something that may be “sinful” in the eyes of G-d. (On Yom Kippur Eve 2016 I asked myself why was my mother’s life ending?)
I am not a religious person although when asked what religion I am I proudly say Jewish, and not because it is a better religion and according to the Old Testament the Jews (Hebrews) were the chosen people. It is because my upbringing and the family traditions still warm my heart and make me smile.
Last year the first year of my mother’s passing (her Yahrzeit) brought me back to Temple for the Holy Days. Although I could have stayed home and recited the mourner’s Kaddish (prayer), I chose to be in a setting that might embrace me. What I learned in the last 12 months, people need to know what you want they cannot read your mind. So, in planning for 5779, I sought out another Temple, and although on Rosh Hashanah I felt lonely, there was a warmth in the sanctuary that told me I had to speak up.
I immediately contacted Rabbi Brown, and within days I was connected with a member of the Temple that surprisingly has connections not to my home, family, and friends in Michigan, but to Minneapolis where I lived during my high school years. This has added a definite glow to my life in the past week and has opened my heart that has felt closed off for the last two years.
I had written numerous blogs about my mom (D’vasha) and the relationship I rekindled with her during her dying weeks (when she was unaware of her critical health.) The love and affection I felt for my mother while living with her for two and a half months was such a gift, and yet sadly she passed. I have been holding on to her, and I refuse to let go, I believe she is watching over me with my pops, and they are keeping me on G-d’s good side. Hopefully, I will be written up in the Book of Life.
As I stated above Yom Kippur will never be the same, in addition to asking for forgiveness. “Al Chet.” This is our form of confession. One of the sins we recite is: “For the sin which we have committed before You by false denial and lying.” Sadly, it is not just today that we hide our dishonesty with coverups that we deem acceptable. However, if we believe there is a G-d, there is nothing we can hide, and it is our obligation to ourselves and mankind to find peace and share it.
Tomorrow I will attend Yom Kippur services, and I will fast as is the tradition. I do this, so I may prove to myself that I am capable of making amends and finding peace. Now through the love, I found in my relationship with my mother, let me extend my hand in peace.
L’Shanah Tova – Happy New Year 5779