Yom Kippur and the Lonely Heart

We enter Yom Kippur trying to make the final cut. With no one to our left and no one to our right, for twenty-five hours we traverse an isolated path.

And while we stand in solitary judgement, it is our connection to others that is measured in its meaningfulness and elevated in prominence. We are called upon to love. Love your neighbor as yourself, a fundamental teaching of the Torah.

Social beings by nature, for the entire year we work, we party, we laugh, we dance, we connect with others and allow others to engage us. We gather in groups, large and small; we eat, we drink and try to be merry, and some of us actually are. We put our best foot forward, or the one we think others would like to see. We wear our facades as if they were our own skin, and embrace the acceptance it incites.

We toil for recognition, acknowledgement and for favorable reception. We strive to be included, supported, welcomed and encircled by well meaning friends and family.

We desire to love and crave to be loved. We ache for it in its absence.

We seek fulfillment, our hearts throbbing to fill all voids. And our lives play out in a Peyton Place –like dimension involving the good, the bad and the ugly, the bold and the beautiful, all the children, the friends, the office and the desperate housewives as we go about the days of our lives.

But on Yom Kippur, we face our fate alone. There is no committee to appeal to and no advocates at our side. We are ultimately on our own. We draw away the layers and bare our souls. And that soul, unaccompanied, hungry, and vulnerable, stands before God and for one day, our essence is utterly exposed.

Our final fate is met in solitude.

Who we are, what we are, what we have accomplished, what if any light we have shed onto this world – all is uncovered. The flaws, the fraud the failings, revealed.

No façade. No masquerade ball. No vibrant colors to camouflage, no smoke screen, no make-up. Just you, your heart, your soul. Your essence. Alone. And we look at ourselves with brutal honesty and uncover the deepest truths within.

And once the final words of the final prayers crosses the threshold of our lips, we are left bare, in all our truth, in all our vulnerability, with our good, our bad and our not so pretty.

And in this moment, in this spirit, exposed and open, our authenticity brought to light – showing the best of our self and the worst of our self, are we worthy of love – able to seek out love and gain love in its truest form, and our hearts are lonely no more.

About the Author
Author of THE GILBOA IRIS (Gefen Publishing House) and SETTLING FOR MORE: FROM JERSEY TO JUDEA (Urim Publications).