I am a rabbi and a mom with two sons, two dogs, a herd of cows, a flock of sheep and a love of all things fiber
Friday, September 17, 2010
Preparing for Yom Kippur
No matter what one's level of observance, Yom Kippur seems to draw in Jews to some moments of introspection. I have been thinking about the images of Yom Kippur today as I baked my hallah and have the rest of my pre-fast meal underway. One of the basic images of Yom Kippur, is that of the scales of justice on which sins and good deeds are said to be weighed. Most of the rest of the year, we hardly think of those scales. In fact most of us blithely go through our lives without really contemplating our actions until something happens to jar us out of our complacency. I have always been one of those people who did too much. I came by it honestly as my mother of blessed memory was also always doing too much. She did more in one day then most people could do in a week or two. My sister once looked at my mother and tried to find her bionic parts because that seemed to be the only explanation for her ability to do as much in one day as she did. (by the way--my sister is also quite good at doing a lot of things at once). This past year I have consciously tried to slow down, do a little less, but be more involved and present in what I was doing. It has not been easy to change a lifetime of habits but it has been an interesting experiment. I have scaled back on purchasing goods, rushing to events and overdoing cooking, baking etc. I have given away clothing, books and other household goods and look forward to de-cluttering my physical spaces even more. This year instead of baking and cooking like a maniac for Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur, I have prepared less dishes and made smaller portions. These small adjustments in my physical surroundings and my levels of activity have had a surprising payoff. I feel calmer, breathe easier and think clearer than I have for a very long time. By scaling back on these physical aspects of my life I have opened up my mind and freed it from the clutter that at times overwhelmed me. I am feeling more creative and more energetic than I have in a long time. I feel more secure and more tranquil even though my life circumstances are anything but secure and tranquil. It is strange...that when I had more physical security, I was personally insecure. When I was "settled" in my life I was less tranquil. I guess I needed this time to re-tune my life. But I have to admit as much as I enjoyed this sabbatical time...I am ready for some new challenges, such as preparing this podcast and building up the Torah Threads community.
As we all face Yom Kippur and the scales of Justice upon which we measure our lives, I wish for you as I hope for myself, to find a life well balanced and a world moving ever closer to peace.