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113http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2012/09/Rabbi-Lyon%27s-Blog---09_21_2012
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 09_21_2012
09/20/2012 07:00 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabbi David Lyon
September 21, 2012

 

This weekend is Shabbat Shuvah. It means the Sabbath of Return or the Sabbath of Repentance. It’s the Sabbath that falls between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these Ten Days of Repentance, we use every opportunity to think about how we can return to God; and if not to God, per se, then to all that God created us to be. Literal perfection is out of reach; but, human improvement is always possible.

                There are two relationships that we aim to secure. One is called “Bein Adam l’Makom” or the one between God and us. This relationship is made whole through acts of repentance, prayer and tzedakah (charity). That is, the Day of Atonement makes atonement between us.

                The other relationship we aim to secure is called “Bein Adam l’Chaveiro” or the one between others and us. Our relationship with family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances needs repair, too. But, the Day of Atonement, alone, doesn’t make atonement for us. Rather, it requires a personal apology for the specific transgression we committed against them knowingly and unknowingly.

                It isn’t always easy to reach those whom we offended. Even when they are close, like family and dear friends, we have to identify the transgression, muster up the courage and then find the words to seek forgiveness. In the event that they are far from home or simply unreachable, our communal worship experience also satisfies part of the requirement. We share a litany of transgressions all of which speak to the persons we are aiming to become.

                You might be wondering which relationship do we repair first, or do we tend to them together? In fact, it is the relationship between others and us that we approach first. As I have taught before, God is fine. Before we make things right before God, we must approach our fellow human beings. Ethics trump rituals, and we must make amends between us before we can approach God to say, “Forgive me, for I have sinned.” Sincere efforts and participation in acts of atonement provide the pathway in our liturgy where God responds to us, “I forgive you, as you have requested.”

                As Yom Kippur nears, we wish each other, “G’mar Chatimah Tovah” may you be SEALED in the Book of Life for a good year. It is always our hope that as the metaphorical book is opened and our names are inscribed in it, that it should be sealed with our names and the names of those whom we love for a year of sweetness, goodness and peace.

 

                For our High Holy Day services, please tell those who cannot attend personally that they can tune in LIVE for Kol Nidrei at 6:30pm, Tuesday, September 25th, and for Yom Kippur Day from 12:00pm thru 6:00pm (not between 2:00-3:00pm). Just go to www.beth-israel.org, and click Streaming Video. Any device with an internet connection, including iphones and ipads, will work.

 

From my family to yours, may you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good year. G’mar Chatimah Tovah.

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