What is your Yom Kippur? Will you Forgive or Ask for Forgiveness?

“No sin is so light that it may be overlooked. No sin is so heavy that it may not be repented of.”  – Moses Ibn Ezra

As a curious and open-minded individual, I’ve come to embrace aspects of all holidays. Each offer up history, lessons, traditions and reflections that we can all learn something from. Yom Kippur is certainly one.

So what is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the years for Jews. It is also called the Day of Atonement, a 25-hour period dedicated to fasting, intensive prayer and a long visit to your synagogue. Even those who aren’t overly religious tend to regard Yom Kippur seriously (meaning the synagogues are packed).

There are three essential components of Yom Kippur:

  • Teshuvah (Repentance)
  • Prayer
  • Fasting

The ten days prior to Yom Kippur are dedicated to repentance. One should seek out and request forgiveness to anyone he or she offended so that the New Year can begin with a clean slate.

Here’s the interesting part: if your first request is rebuffed, you should ask at least two more times. At that point, the offended should grant you forgiveness.

What a cool tradition! It seems to take into account that forgiveness is a process, not a split-second occurrence. Forgiveness can also require several attempts (who doesn’t get that?).

And let’s not forget: the scorned party must also do his or her part. In short, when someone has reached out to you several times, requesting heartfelt forgiveness, it is also your moral duty to accept it to the best of your degree.

Couldn’t we all stand for that “clean slate” feeling. This Yom Kippur, Jew or Gentile, why not seek out the people with whom you can make amends? Yes, it certainly takes courage and resolve…and it often takes several attempts. But you’ll feel a weight lifted, simply by reaching out and trying.

And maybe, just maybe, when more of us seek out forgiveness during a certain period of time, it heals the world that we live in, even just a little.

Is someone you know celebrating this High Holiday? Send them one of our Yom Kippur ecard from our collection.

The blowing of the Shofar, a ram’s horn.

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