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|[i] We are told that what we open to during and between the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur shapes our destiny for the coming year. Our prayers state that on Rosh Hashanah the book of life is opened and on Yom Kippur it is sealed. When our sages said this, they were talking about everything about our lives, the quality of our lives, and even whether we will be spiritually or physically alive in the coming year. What is it about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that sets one’s fate for the year?
Everything begins within the spiritual worlds, and is funneled through our own consciousness. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur hold the keys to transforming our consciousness in two very important ways that enable us to receive a higher vibration of life force energy and blessing. Succinctly
stated, on Rosh Hashanah we open to who we really are and on Yom Kippur, we let go of who we are not. Rosh Hashanah may be likened to the inhalation of the breath, bringing new vitality, and greater well being and Yom Kippur may
be likened to the exhalation, releasing what is no longer needed, what is toxic, and what does not serve the whole of creation. On Rosh Hashanah we become grounded in the truth of Reality and on Yom Kippur, we release illusion. Both processes are related and intimately connected with each
The beautiful prayers of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, and the shofar blowing are designed to raise our consciousness so high that we have a glimpse of the Truth of Reality that there is a God who is the Creator, and this God is also the King. When our consciousness is lifted to the point that we
experience that God is the King, Hashem Melech, God is creating life every second and there is truly divine order in life, we are given the keys to re-create our lives anew.
The new beginning of Rosh Hashanah is not about making ourselves better, it is not about fixing the past, and finally becoming good enough. It is about being given a new beginning simply because we are human beings made in
the image of the Divine. It is about learning how to receive the blessings that God wants to give each of us and all of creation ...
The days before Yom Kippur, which we are in now ... are said to be the most auspicious days to draw close to God as well
as to reconcile our relationships with each other. In the course of the year, we may have hurt others and we may have been hurt by others. We know that we are drawing close to God when our hearts open, our minds are
expanded and we feel able to forgive ourselves and others for the pain we have experienced in our lives.
Though forgiveness is a gift of prayer, and meditation and takes first occurs in the inner levels of one’s being, it is however a good thing to actually ask people for forgiveness and to forgive people who ask you for forgiveness as well. It is never easy to do, to acknowledge that we were
hurt, that we were vulnerable, or even worse, that we regrettably hurt others, but now is the optimal time to do this. It is a great spiritual practice to ask for forgiveness from all people you know.
It is possible that you may discover that someone may be holding a grudge against you that you may not even be aware of and now that it is out in the open, it will be easy to remove this residual negative energy. If we hurt
someone, we ask for forgiveness and make amends if necessary to obtain forgiveness. We commit to do differently in the future. If we are unsuccessful in obtaining forgiveness or we have done something that hurt many people and we can not obtain forgiveness from all the people we have
hurt, we do something for the betterment of the community. We give tzedekah.
When a person forgives you for a wrong you have done, it is a spiritual gift. When you forgive another, it is a spiritual gift that you give to yourself, as well as to the other person. It frees you from experiencing yourself as a victim, it opens you to receive God’s light in a more intense and pure way. A person who is angry can not experience God’s light. Now is
the time to forgive others and mostly to forgive yourself. Many of us tend to be the hardest, most judgemental and unforgiving towards ourselves.
In forgiving others, it is helpful and important to bear in mind that forgiveness is not the same as condoning or accepting a negative or harmful behavior or act. We can forgive a person when we see the soul, the light, within him and yet it may still be necessary to protect, and guard ourselves against the negative behavior of his personality.
In forgiving others, we take responsibility for the role that we played consciously or unconsciously in allowing this negativity in our lives and we also strengthen our commitment to grow, heal and expand ourselves so we have more loving mirrors of who we are in our life. If we do the forgiveness work with each other, it is easier to accept the forgiveness that God gives us on Yom Kippur.
The Torah says, “ On the tenth day of the month ( Tishre) it is a day of atonement, a holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves.” ( Lev.23) And the Torah tells us that on Yom Kippur, “ You shall be purified from all your sins.” ( Lev 6:30) On the external, outside, level, Yom Kippur is a
day of affliction, not eating, not washing, confessing all the sins, feeling sad, and remorseful for all the mistakes we have made individually and collectively. There is much pain and suffering on micro and macro levels in the world today that if we are not mindful and do not understand the essence
of the Yom Kippur, we can be easily disheartened on this day.
But on the internal level, on the inside of the inside, Yom Kippur is the most joyous and awesome day of the year. By being in spiritual community and uniting with the Community of Israel on this most awesome of days, Yom Kippur, that was established thousands of years ago, we are given the
opportunity as well as the support, both divine and communal, to liberate ourselves from the stifling hold that materialism and physicality have held in defining who we are as well as release ourselves from the tyranny of the ego self that inflicts us and others with its fragmented, narrow, self-serving, and limiting conversation in our minds. On Kol Nidre, we
release all such vows taken consciously and unconsciously that have blocked the flow of goodness in our lives in a way that we could not do at another time.
Though we do not eat, we do not wash, we pray all day, we are happy for we experience paradoxically that the restrictions of Yom Kippur do not make us enslaved or limited, but actually make us free, enabling us to become the
kind of vessel who is able to receive the transmission of awesome holiness, love and forgiveness of the day. On Yom Kippur, we do not eat physical food but rather we are fed heavenly manna of love. We do not wash for we are
bathed in divine compassion. On Yom Kippur, our slate is wiped clean. We are like new born babes, ready to be ushered into the succah for seven days of coddling and fun with Hashem and each other.
To enhance the teaching about Yom Kippur I would like to include ... some quotes from my book "Kabbalah Month by Month." Regarding Yom Kippur, I wrote the following: “ In Hebrew, 'to sin' means 'to miss the mark.' Human beings in Judaism are not considered sinful, rather they may think, feel, and do things that are not in keeping with their true nature, and this is what is meant by sin. Because sin does not emanate from the true essence of human beings, but rather results from a false identification with the ego mind, it is easy to relinguish what is not attached to our true essence when we realize who we really are.
Everything on Yom Kippur is designed to facilitate this kind of psychological and emotional release which opens us to the clarity of who we really are. Out of our willingness to feel our brokenness and vulnerability, we become stronger and more whole. We are in essence divine holy beings with
pure shining loving souls. We simply need to let go of limiting, illusory and false concepts of the self that we have misidentified as ourselves.
It is a tremendous gift to pray in a congregation on Yom Kippur, for what we can do together is greater than what we can do alone. To be in the company of people who are strong enough to acknowledge that they are vulnerable human beings and as people have all made mistakes is a powerful
bonding experience. We also receive much more Divine light and grace when we feel responsible for the community than we would as isolated individuals.”
... In closing, I wish everyone beautiful and meaningful holidays, new beginnings, and deep releases of what does not serve us. This year is going to be a most amazing powerful year.
Love and blessings, Melinda ( Mindy) Ribner
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