It is Yom Kippur. I am not fasting (health reasons) and I have to work (there’s nobody to take my shift for me), but I am very much aware of what day it is, what the High Holy Days are, and what it means both to my greater community, and to myself, personally.
In the Jewish tradition, confessing to a sin and repenting does not immediately anoint you with forgiveness. Words are not enough, be they between you and another person, or you and your understanding of God. It is the point of where you recognize and acknowledge that you did wrong, and begin the effort to carry that wrong no further. But it is future actions that earn forgiveness, not merely mouthing the word of repentance.
If I have wronged you unwittingly, if I have harmed you, if I have done damage to you, I apologize. I ask your forgiveness knowing that you are under no obligation to give it. I vow, in this new year, to mind my words, with full knowledge that they can harm as well as heal. I vow, in this new year, to mind my thoughts, with full knowledge that they can damage as well as repair. I vow, in this new year, to make my actions speak my heart: to be gentle with those who are in pain, to be compassionate to those in need, and a guide to those who are lost; to strive to be the better human we have been commanded to be.
There is a divine spark that lights this Universe. I will strive to carry that within me, to share it to those who see only darkness, to deny those who would douse it with cruelty, hate, or spite.
May we all be inscribed and sealed for the new year ahead. And for those of the tribe who are observing, may you have a meaningful fast.