Reflecting on Yom Kippur

By Irit Umani, Monday September 28

It is Yom Kippur day, 2020, and as I do each year, I use this sacred day to reflect and to commit.

I woke up this morning and three words came to my mind. Courage, equanimity, compassion.

The world is on fire. In California and the entire west cost literally and everywhere spiritually. Courageous fire fighters are battling fires and I ask myself whether I am as courageous to battle the spiritual fires that are consuming who we are as peoples. I hold three citizenships; the USA, Israel and the World. The first two peoples with whom I belong live the consequences of a leader who is a criminal that cares only about himself and the third, the world, is lost in disbelief, in fear, in suffering. It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of the powers of division, care-less, danger to our very existence. Yet it calls for fearless truth, action, commitment.

I ask myself whether I developed the courage and the required compassion and do I have the quality of equanimity and faith to fuel my courage and compassion. Do I pursue justice, am I acting justly, loving mercy and remaining humble in God?

On Rosh Hashana I listened to Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar, who posed the question “who am I and who the world needs me to be?” This Yom Kippur I find it impossible to take stock of my personal life, my personal relationships. This Yom Kippur my “I” is a “we”.

This Yom Kippur, 2020, I re-commit myself to be the we that I want to see in the world. To tap on my depth of faith and the quality of equanimity that I cultivated to date, so that I can serve with courage and in compassion. In a humble bow to the divine in us, I pray that my actions will be informed by justice and be led by loving mercy.

I am an imperfect traveler on a journey of awakening to my divine nature, through the path of service aka Karma yoga, Seva, mitzvas/ezra. My hope is that one day at “The Gates” I’ll be able to answer affirmatively to the question of “did you love well?”. My fervent prayer is that I will get better in loving well when it is difficult to do so. The world needs me to speak truth, to pursue justice all the days of my life, to love my fellow beings as I yearn to be loved. To these I recommit this Yom Kippur.

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