Last year I attended a Kol Nidre service on the eve of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is better known as the tummy grumbling holiday of fasting and saying you’re “sorry” for all that you have done or better yet, failed to do in the year past. It’s a day of forgiveness, a day of starting over, a day of realizing that you’re human — something we all so readily forget.
The room that night was packed, spewing over with people standing in the aisles, sitting on the ground, peaking through the windows. The Rabbi opened the service by stating the obvious. Yom Kippur is the most “un-Jewish like holiday” because it’s the only holiday not focused on food (most Jewish holidays involve stuffing yourself silly), yet there were more people in this room than she had ever seen, and it’s pretty obvious why.
Our lives are delicately draped in chaos, most days of the year. Consumed by making enough money to cut checks that pay for our expenses, boosting our personalities to remain in the clear with our friends, searching and longing to obtain items and feelings and nouns that we convince ourselves we won’t be happy without. It’s rare that we waste an ounce of our free time stopping short in our tracks, and in our mistakes, to process them and recover from them. Hence leaving us with this itch on our shoulders throughout the year.
I learned a very important lesson: At our worst, we can be jealous, rambunctious, mischievous individuals, who at the end of the day just want to be wrapped up in warm lavender hugs bursting with acknowledgement and attention — we all just want to be loved. But, we are human. And humans say things, and they do things, and they forget to do things that they then over accessorize in guilt and regret.
The wallows inside my belly that cry of hunger and scream for the chance to devour three bagels with smear and a bucket of black and white cookies today, is juxtaposed with the anguish of all that I have come to regret this year and throughout years past, as I spend today remembering, fighting with myself to understand how to move on and move forward. Swaying in the lopsided realization that if we really want to learn from our mistakes, we don’t ever have to repeat them again.
And that’s what today is for.
Today I understand that. Today I take a deep breath and slowly exhale, remembering the people I’ve hurt, lost, may have selfishly forgotten about this year, and all the situations that didn’t go as smoothly and as calmly as they could have. Crumpling up my regrets, my mistakes, my wish-I-would-haves, and my I’m sorry, again and tossing them over my shoulder.
I feel lighter already. Is it time to eat yet?