Yom Kippur. Last call for Jewish people to confess and ask for forgiveness.
I am in Portugal, looking for a synagogue in the area. Lately, I’ve been traveling a lot. Hence, the holidays have become more intimidating than joyful, leaving me feeling disconnected. I find myself doing things that I haven’t done before. It’s interesting how we change, how in time different things have different meanings to us.
Not long ago, when a painter was working on the entrance to my house, I asked him to please remove the mezuzah. As he handed it to me, I recalled how years ago my husband and my brother had installed it. I couldn’t remember which one of them said the blessing. It was a long time ago, on my wedding day. I doubted the scroll inside the mezuzah was still kosher. I carefully pulled it out. I was not wrong. It was dried out, discolored and even torn.
I left the silver mezuzah next to my candleholder and ignored it for over a week. Finally, I took the time and cleaned it, making it shine and sparkle. Still, the empty, polished mezuzah in my hands bothered me. Perhaps if this had happened at another time of the year things would have been different. I don’t know.
It was only a few days before Rosh Hashanah and I was in a need of a scroll. I called the local Chabad synagogue, hoping they sell mezuzahs and scrolls. I was able to get a new kosher scroll and actually the rabbi came to install the mezuzah himself. Wow…
Talk about a good deed, a mitzvah in Hebrew, before Yom Kippur? Clearly, both the rabbi and I did a big mitzvah.
So yes, we change. Over time, different things hold different meanings for us.
Yet, a mitzvah is not enough. At this time of the year, a better person will also apologize to his family and friends, and ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing or misunderstanding during the previous year.
And so do I. If I have hurt you or harmed you in any way I am sorry—I did not mean to. Please forgive me.
I wish you, your family and friends a happy New Year and G’mar Hatima Tova.