L’Chaim, לחיים, TO LIFE

hebrew jewish

I am Jewish and around this time of the year we have the high holidays, or high holy days. I am the kind of Jew who goes to temple on these holidays… sometimes. I really do love being Jewish, but see it more as a part of my heritage, story, and lineage than a religion.

Friday sundown to Saturday sundown was the high holiday Yom Kipper. It is my favorite services but by far the most depressing “holiday.” On this day you fast and atone for your sins. Yippee! This year I tried to fast because the purpose of fasting is to break down your walls, become a bit weak so you can let faith and God into your heart.  The last time I successfully fasted was in college and I have vivid, almost pornographic, dreams about chicken nuggets. This time when I fasted it did make me extremely emotional! I don’t know if it was God entering my heart, but I will say that being empty and weak elevated my emotions.  I felt overcome with tears at moments and unable to stop myself from laughing at others. Two embarrassing moments of the service: (1) in a moment of silent prayer, my stomach started yelling at me in a way I have never experienced! It was gurgling loudly for long stretches at a time. My mom turns to me and whispers, “Is that YOU?” (2) In services for Yom Kipper they have an amazing list of everything you could possibly do that needs atoning for — they really cover all bases for you. One of them was sexual immorality. The entire synagog reads aloud these sins in English after the Rabbi reads them in Hebrew. I said quite loudly, “Please forgive us for my sexual immortality.” My mom started giggling and I lost my composure. If you can’t tell, me [and my mother it seems] were those kids in class that talked, whispered, and giggled. Nothing has changed!

All in all, the day was a success and I ate a sandwich right after services. It was very nice to reflect on the year and remember times I was less than perfect. It also felt nice to know I wasn’t alone and that it is ok to have faults. The Jewish New Year, year 5774, is a time to celebrate but reflect and make this next year a better, healthier, and fuller year. To that I say L’CHAIM! That means “TO LIFE” and usually is followed by a lot of routy drinking.

love, Sarah


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