With Yom Kippur approaching, there are just a few things that I want to share with you for the way.
1. Accept this axiom: Hashem is the Master of all of the consequences of your choices and the choices that other people made. You are accountable for your choices: once you look inward with enough honesty to want to free yourself of all of the less desired choices that you made, you are free. To quote Mesilat Yesharim “Uprooting the desire is like uprooting the deed”. What that means is that if you no longer wish to do the things that you once did, the imprint upon you dissolves in the flood of compassion that Hashem showers the world with on Yom Kippur.
This isn’t only true for you. It is true for everyone. If someone in your life is genuinely sorry for harm that he or she has done, that is all you can want. The results of the person’s choices are Hashem’s decrees. Even when your yetzer hara (WHO?) tells you that if not for their choices your life would be different than it is today, realize (as the Talmud says) G-d has many bears and many lions. What that means is that He can bring about any situation and any brand of reality to challenge you in infinite numbers of ways. When you learn this in a way that your heart and not only your head takes it in, you will find it possible to forgive people who are haunting you and embittering you.
2. The day of Yom Kippur is like an invisible mikveh of holiness that engulfs you. Don’t hold on to your limitations and mistakes. They aren’t all that precious or worth holding on to. Don’t be like the person who went to an actual mikveh and held on to an insect as he immersed. Everything about an insect’s life revolves around eating. It is defined by consuming and consuming some more. The mikveh can’t purify someone who is still holding on to defilement. Let go of your “insect”. Be more human, be a giver.
3. When you finally hear the last shofar blast as the holiday ends, look at the person standing next to you, and try to really like her, identify with her, and feel fortunate to have made such a huge journey in good company…
Gmar Chatima Tova