Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


This evening begins the fast of Yom Kippur -- the Jewish Day of Atonement.  For Christians, atonement is connected to identification with the sacrifice of Jesus.  For Jews, atonement is a process of realignment with both G*d and our fellow man.  In fact, the first step of atonement is asking forgiveness from other people whom we have hurt in the past year.  Only then can we ask forgiveness of G*d for our transgressions against religious rules.

The fast will continue after this evening's services (called Kol Nidrei -- "All Vows") until tomorrow evening after the Ne'ila ("Locking") service.  During this time, the Shofar (ram's horn) will be sounded numerous times.  What does all this mean?  How does all this fasting and praying achieve atonement for failing to keep ritual or ethical commandments?

Atonement is a process of identification or alignment. We become ONE with G*d and our fellow man.  When we are all hungry and praying together, we can recognize that others in the world suffer in hunger every day.  We listen to the words of Isaiah, who exhorted the Jews of his time to take the meaning of the day to heart -- not merely to fast while turning a blind eye to those who are hungry due to circumstance, not choice. 

We also seek to see the Oneness in both G*d and humanity.   With respect to G*d, we need to see that the rules we have transgressed are there to help us live a better life, not to make our life more difficult.  In this we are like children, who rebel against parental rules that aim to teach them good habits for a lifetime. 

This year, let us at-ONE with the One, and with everyone.

Gmar Khatima Tova!  (May you be inscribed for good in the Book of Life)

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