This day ends a period of 10 days following the New Year,dedicated to inner reflection and repentance for our sins,asking forgiveness from fellow human beings and from God.This tenth day is emphasised by a 25hr fast, after which it is believed that our ”verdict” is sealed ,therefore the birth of the blessing ” Hatima Tova” to one another,meaning “may you be blessed with a good sealing/verdict”.
As I have stated before,I am not a religious person,nor is my family.But my parents do fast,its just one of those traditional symbols they do take seriously.I remember growing up,not understanding what all the fuss was about,mostly annoyed by the sudden “halt” of activity,disturbed by the quiet,leaving a heavy ”cloud” in the air.I amused myself by slowly sneaking food from the fridge when no one noticed.It is my mother who is more sensitive to tradition,who did not take kindly to my mischief.
I later went on my path turning my back to these restrictions,enjoying with friends a rebellious atmosphere of get-togethers inwhich we ate and watched movies..
It was only along my personal journey inwhich I have travelled,explored other cultures and spiritual beliefs that I have come to understand the importance of ” stopping all activity” for the purpose of inner attunement and reflection,in order to see clearer what may be wrong,make amends and better our ways.
Today I still choose not to fast,though I have full respect for those who do.A respect I learned to obtain after living among Muslim people in Turkey who fast during the Ramadan.
I do choose to dedicate this Symbolic day for inner reflection and attunement,a pause that is reccomended to be done more than once a year,but I believe in it`s significance once rooted in a society`s ritual in form of an assigned day.
There is also something to be said about tradition,as I remember my mother`s efforts in preparing a special meal before the onset of the fast ,and as the hour of breaking the fast slowly approached,there was a special decorated table,onwhich she slowly added small fine treats to be savoured once the sign was given.
This year,my personal attempt of redemption in relation to my mother was to escort her to the neighborhood synagogue to attend the prayers of the beginning of Kippur.It became a special gift to me aswell,an act of bonding,to my mother,my ancestors and my roots.
As a person who has preached all my life of Respecting the “other”,of Peace and Harmony among all Human beings,I believe I have just completed the missing link enabling me to “Walk what I Preach” ,and that is to reach an inner peace aswell as a respect for my own roots
regardless of how I choose to translate them into my own life…
“Derech” /Path- Mosh ben Ari