I’m preparing for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.

Which, as I write it, strikes me as ludicrous.  How can one prepare for such a day?

How do you take stock of your life in a serious and deep way, a way that causes you to make amends, change direction, and alter your deeply-ingrained habits?

The truth is, I don’t know.  And each year I enter this day feeling wholly unprepared, no matter how thoughtful I have been in the days leading up to it.

So this year, I’m trying to make peace with that, and just accept that unpreparedness is part of the process.  (Rabbi Alan Lew, z”l, wrote a lovely book: This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared, which I recommend.)

Two things I’m sure of: (1) the more completely I enter into the Day of Atonement, the more I get out of it, the more my life changes for the better.  (2) It’s better to do this kind of introspection once a year and make changes, than to wait for the last days when there’s no more time.

So, Gentle Reader, may your life be changed for the better by the process of repentance and atonement, and may you make choices in the coming year that bring you joy when you look back on them from a future vantage point.


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