Shabbat Shalom with a Heart Healthy Dose of Torah–Yom Kippur

standing this day before Adonai, your God … every man of Israel, your young children, your women, and your convert who is within your camp both your woodcutters and your water drawers, that you may enter into the covenant which Adonai, your God is making with you this day, in order to establish you this day as God’s people … But not only with you am I making this covenant and this oath, but with those standing here with us today before our God, and [also] with those who are not here with us, this day.” This covenant of faith is made with all people, not just some people. Too often in religious chauvinism, people forget that and try to “Out God” the other traditions. No, everyone, from all places of the earth, everyone matters. Everyone is included. Please note that nowhere in this text does God require our affirmation. Nowhere do we have to make a pledge of faith. All that we have to do is take care of each other.

This weekend (Saturday) is Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish Calendar. It is our Day of Atonement. It is the tenth day of the month of Tishri (of course being a lunar based month, the date floats around the solar based secular calendar). This is the day that Jews are supposed to stop everything to make sure that we have fixed the difficulties between us and each other, across the world. Quite literally, we spend the day regrouping and rethinking … and healing the obstacles between each other.

Saturday is also the 10th of Muharram. Muharram is the second holiest month in Islam. Saturday will be the Day of Ashura. It is the Moslem Day of Atonement. It celebrates the day that the Prophet Musa (Moses) freed the people of Israel from slavery to Pharaoh (yes, Moslems celebrate the Exodus and Moses is one of Islam’s chief prophets) and also commemorates the martyrdom day of Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad. Jews and Moslems will be in prayer all day seeking a new path before God and with each other.
What a great way to start the year! 


This is my prayer for the new year. Shabbat Shalom.