May 27, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 27, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Yom Kippur has always been a very confusing holiday for me. I know that it is the holiest day of the year. It is the holiest day of the year because this is the day that we come before God and we ask Him forgiveness for all of our sins and with that forgiveness, if He is so inclined, He should bless us with a year filled with good health, happiness, simchas and only mazel for ourselves and our families. We do all of this while we are fasting because when you are fasting, all there is to concentrate on are the words in the machzor that are before you. It is hard for a big girl like me to fast, so I wonder if I get any bonus points for all of the suffering that I go through on Yom Kippur. I am kidding. I mean, I am not kidding about the big girl fasting issue, but I am certainly cognizant that I am not getting anything for anything. It is a serious day and should be taken seriously.

We are all in the same boat on this holiday. Some of our boats contain truly good people that I hope will be blessed with only good things, and in other boats there are people who have done not so nice things this year, things that might be hard for man to forgive, but maybe God will see past it and they will be okay, too. It is God’s job to judge, not ours, even though I would be sooo good at it! (Please, don’t strike me down with lightning, I am sorry.)

Anyway, what I don’t understand about Yom Kippur is the whole “For the sin” section. I have got my machzor here for this column and I would like to go through some of these beauties. “For the sin we have sinned before You through harsh speech; and for the sin we have sinned before You with knowledge and with deceit.” Okay. That doesn’t sound too good. I speak harshly a lot, not one of my best qualities, but I take comfort in knowing that if it is in a machzor that has been around for thousands of years, I must not be the only one doing it (not that it makes it right).

“For the sin we have sinned before You with haughty eyes; and for the sin we have sinned before You with brazenness.” Is haughty eyes a more interesting way of saying “eyes that roll at most things people say”? Again, if it is in this book, and I am still not defending it, there must be others who do it as often as I do.

“For the sin we have sinned before You with legs that run to do evil, and for the sins we have sinned before You by gossip-mongering.” Now, running to do evil, could evil mean going to the gym? Because sometimes when I go there and see all of the really skinny people who never smile at me, I think about force-feeding them carbs. Is that the evil that is being referred to?

And my mother’s favorite, which she would point out to me every year that I was in shul with her, “And for the sin we have sinned before You by showing contempt for parents and teachers.” Yes, mom, I should definitely be nicer and more respectful to you, but I do the best I can.

And then my favorite, “And for the sin we have sinned before You with food and drink.” Now, on an intelligent level, I know this is probably referring to eating and drinking things that are not kosher. Perhaps it refers to not waiting long enough between meat and milk (but I am Dutch and I only wait an hour). But I think it is really referring to all of the crunchy cheese curls that I have been stress eating these past few months. Okay, maybe not.

But why, with all of these things we have done wrong, do we only ask for forgiveness once a year? Why don’t we have confession like the Catholics? I would love to be able to go to my favorite rabbi and say, “Forgive me, Rabbi, I have sinned. I had thoughts about strangling husband #1 again. What should I do? “And he would say, “Bless you, my child, go home and make him three pots of meatballs and some kasha varnishkes and all will be forgiven.” Wouldn’t that be nice?

I am assuming that the reason we only ask forgiveness for our transgressions once a year is because it makes it more meaningful. If we did it every day (and many of us should, myself included) it just would not be as sincere. So, as we approach Yom Kippur, let us really reflect on our actions of the past year. Try to improve where we can, try to forgive where we can and try to move on where we can. And may we all be sealed in the book of life.

Banji Ganchrow is a self-proclaimed writer who will most likely end up in the place that is not heaven. Her version of this place is 24-hour algebra class and no white chocolate KitKats.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles