After Yom Kippur
Now that Yom Kippur has once again past, and both of our communities, Karaites and Rabbanites have stood before God and confessed our inadequacies, did you really bare your soul to the Almighty? Did you let your spirit go wandering upon the wind, sailing amongst the clouds as you prayed? Did you leave your mortal coil unguarded, unsecured so that you willingly placed yourself into His outstretched hands? Did you feel yourself lifted upon the wings of angels, without tether to earth or place, basked in the rays of His Glory or did you seek to conceal and hide in the darkness, afraid to let the Lord peer into your transgressions? Were you an eagle soaring through the heavens or a rabbit running scared into your warren beneath the ground? Nothing can be hidden from God for He dwells inside each one of us and He sees into the darkest corners of our souls. We walk through our lives asleep and afraid but this day was a time to awaken and speak what is in our hearts and on our minds. It was a time to listen and to be listened to. Did you find your voice or did your remain deaf and dumb as we do most of the days of our lives? Whatever sins, whatever crimes, know that YHWH was already aware of your transgressions and He awaited your declaration to see if you took ownership of all the evils you had done. Or when you found your voice did you plea to Him that ‘it was not me’ but an evil that possessed me at the time, failing to take responsibility for the wrongs that you have done? None of us are without sin, none of us are so righteous that we can make any claim to be other than man. Wickedness dwells within our souls, weakness is the temptation of our existence, but on this day we came not to cleanse our spirits but to acknowledge that we are no better than any other man, guilty of the same sins and pride that are our downfall and pray that God in all his mercy will see that we are truly filled with remorse and regret and for that we beg that He grants us forgiveness. The wrong-doer cannot walk away with beliefs that his slate has been wiped clean and the sinner cannot believe that he is suddenly without sin. No! These things can never be erased but we can make ‘atonement.’ We can attempt to balance the scales, by making a pact with YHWH that we will exceed our transgressions with good deeds and pledge the remainder of our lives to follow His teachings. The Lord does not expect us never to fall, never to lose our way. In fact he places stumbling stones along our path every day of our lives. But what He does judge us for is how we rise up each time that we fall, how we clear the path of the stones that have been set before us, how we adjust our course to sail back into the waters that He has stilled if we only adhere to the map provided. Let no man think that he is above sin. Let no man commit crimes and think that they go unnoticed. All deeds are accounted for and no man is without blame for the deeds of the wicked. The winnower cannot separate the just from the unjust like sheaves of wheat. The threads of our lives our woven into an intricate pattern upon the cloth; one cannot remove a single thread without affecting the entirety of the design. So how is it that men can stand before the Almighty this day and believe that their sins can be separated and discarded never to be a threat ever again? No, they are never to be forgotten for God will judge the sweetness of the fruit heavy upon the branches of a tree where the roots have begun to rot. And as long as the produce is sweet then the tree will be left standing. But the day the fruit is sour in the mouth then that is the day He will fell it limb by limb and tear the roots from the life nourishing soil. Then will his judgment be upon you and you will understand that the Day of Atonement was never about forgiveness but instead a Day of Negotiation, and you had nothing left to offer. Only then will you understand that all your prayers, all your singing were for nothing because you never let your spirit go wandering upon the wind. You never let your mortal coil unguarded, laid bare to be scrutinized and examined totally. You never soared like the eagle but instead hid like the rabbit, always running, always fearful of being caught. Now you understand the meaning of the day and I once again you, "did you find your voice or has another year gone by in which your silence has been your downfall."
Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana