Celebrating the Spiritual Levels of Torah

Torah Portion for Yom Kippur, the week of September 27 - October 4

(Leviticus 16:1 - 16:34)

We are offered special moments for reflection and renewal during these Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Jewish year begins with cheshbon ha-nefesh, self-examination and self-awareness, so that we might bring greater intentionality to the year about to be.

The ten days conclude with Yom Kippur, a day of deep cleansing and soul purification. We are invited to surrender to the deepest energies yearning to be met within ourselves and within all life.

For on this day expiation shall be made for you to purify you of all your wrong-doings; you shall be pure before the Eternal. (16:30)

According to some commentators, it is the day itself that brings expiation. Immersion in the energies of Yom Kippur is like immersion in a cleansing spring.

This week invites us to prepare for that immersion by engaging the process of letting go. We seek to release past scripts and roles; we seek to surrender old beliefs in limitations and faults in order to recover and celebrate our greater gifts.

We release the past through deep forgiveness. We are invited to forgive ourselves for all the moments this past year when we acted in pretense and not in truth. We are invited to forgive ourselves for the moments we lost sight of what was truly important in our lives.

And we are invited to forgive others. Our forgiveness does not mean our forgetting; it does not mean we no longer feel pain from past wounds. Forgiveness means that we are no longer reactive to people and situations. Our forgiveness means that we no longer dwell on old wounds, that we have chosen to move on in our lives. Forgiveness allows us to open our hearts.

Our forgiveness means that we are willing to let go of the past so that we no longer carry it with us into our future. Forgiveness means we are able to be present in the immediacy of the moment; forgiveness is a path to freedom.

Focus Phrases

I realize guilts that I still carry and choose forgiveness.
I own the resentments I carry at others and choose forgiveness.
I become more loving as I forgive myself and others.

Writing Prompts

If I forgive others, I imagine that I could. . .
If I truly forgive myself, I would. . .
I know I have released resentments at others when. . .

“Torah is the book with no end, supporting our understanding of what it means to be a vehicle for the Spirit of Creation.”

Photo: Mark Reden