Approaching the Day of Judgement
It seems natural to face the season of the High Holidays with trepidation and anxiety, especially for women living with serious illness. Prayers about a ledger book where our deeds from the past year are recorded. One reading after another about women crushed by their desire to have a child. A roster of ways that people suffer. Just the name of the holiday Yom haDin, Day of judgment brings us up short.
Jewish tradition in all its forms is solidly based on the premise that we have the capacity to reflect on our behavior and make good and positive choices. We have the chance each day to walk a path choosing the good, actualizing the holy, sometimes going off the path, but always able to get back on the path again. The word sin in Judaism is simply the word Chet, an arrow that misses the mark. No judgment, actually. Just an arrow that represents our actions, which have landed away from the bulls eye. Noticing those arrows, collecting them and directing them once again is what teshuvah or returning is all about. Our lives may feel as fragile as a slender arrow, but we all possess an unseen power that can propel us forward to express love, kindness, courage, wisdom, and creativity. This is what makes each of us unique and holy. And it is what we experience on the receiving end when family and friends and supportive professionals tend to our needs and work hard to heal us as best they can.