Thought for Shabbat – September 17, 2021
So now it’s the day after Yom Kippur. How do you feel? Does your soul feel lighter? Are you relieved? Have you changed your ways? Are you uncomfortable because you ate too much when you broke your fast? Me, I’m just plain tired.
Yom Kippur is exhausting, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Done right, we have dug deep, we have fasted, we have faced our innermost feelings and fears, guilt and disappointment. We have juggled schedules and appointments and family traditions. To some of us, after this exhausting experience, today might not be the day to make a change. Today may be a day for recovery and perhaps focus on our Sukkot preparations.
Ok, then what about tomorrow? Is that the day we will make a change? But tomorrow is such a busy day. The kids have activities, we are going out to dinner with friends on Saturday night. And with all the holidays we have missed the ability to do a lot of our normal activities. The block of time we feel we need to do what needs to be done is not available. As we slide into our regular routines, our activities, family obligations, and work, time gets swallowed up and soon the idea of substantial change becomes unmanageable and unrealistic.
But what many of us fail to realize is that real change comes while we are living our routine lives. When we are with other people for dinner tomorrow night, will we continue to talk about other people in the same critical and mocking way we have done in the past? When we are with our children, will we make sure we are modeling appropriate behavior and speech? When we are at work will we conduct ourselves more ethically than we have done in the past? As we engage in our activities, will we perhaps set aside some time to address our personal spiritual needs through prayer, study and meditation? Will we simply be kinder, more considerate and loving?
Yom Kippur has reminded us that we need to do better, not just in the way that we observe our religion, but in the way we do even the simplest of things. We have begun to do those things already. All we have to do is find a better way to do them. Today.
Rabbi Yaier Lehrer
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill