A Day for Atonement

I sit in meditation, mindful of all my Jewish friends, commemorating Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on this beautiful and sunny fall day...

I contemplate my sins - and give intent to cast them away - intending to do so with a ritual of Tashlich by the river, to follow my morning yoga class...

I consider all the things within my soul that lay unforgiven. I consider all those that I need to forgive, and all those I need to be forgiven by as well... I even consider forgiving the unforgivable - unspeakable crimes such as those of the Holocaust, and those perpetrated in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, just to note a couple... I consider other examples of genocide and still other unspeakable crimes such as the rape of a child. There are others I do not wish to dwell on...

After my class, I head down to the river with cracker crumbs in my pockets and empty them into the river where a swirling legion of tiny tadpoles circle around the crackers. I step into the river in my crocs as carefully as I can - lest I step on any tiny creature unbeknownst to me, and I begin to recite prayers for a Tashlich Service I found online, from the Congregation of Beth Shalom in Wilmington, led by Rabbi Michael S. Beals...

Tashlich is a beautiful ceremony that I have have practiced for several years. It is done by a flowing body of water, home to fish of some sort. The ritual reminds us to repent, and I am reminded of the tradition I grew up in, where confessing of one's sins was a cornerstone of one's faith...

I love the cleansing effect of this ritual, and I feel more open and receptive to its fruits because of the practice I concluded before coming to the shores of this river...

I ask and I pray - to cast away all the accumulation of sins and transgressions - those that I am conscious of - and those I am not conscious of - that I may be cleansed and purified as well...

And I so, I quietly utter these prayers from the service...

"Let us cast away the sin of vain ambition, which prompts us to strive for goals which bring neither true fulfillment nor genuine contentment. 

Let us cast away the sin of stubbornness, so that we will neither persist in foolish habits nor fail to acknowledge our will to change.

Let us cast away the sin of envy, so that we will neither be consumed by desire for what we lack nor grown unmindful of the blessings which are already ours.

Let us cast away the sin of selfishness, which keeps us from enriching our lives through wider concerns and great sharing and from reaching out in love to other human beings.

Let us cast away the sin of indifference, so that we may be sensitive to the suffering of others and responsive to the needs of people everywhere.

Let us cast away the sin of pride and arrogance, so that we can worship God and serve God's purpose in humility and truth.

Eternal, our God, hear our prayer.
Eternal, our God, have mercy upon us and upon our children.
Eternal, our God, grant unto us a year of happiness.
Be gracious and answer us, for we have not done enough good deeds. Please love us, be generous with us, and help us.

PSALM 130

Out of the depths I call to You;
Lord, hear my cry, heed my plea.
Be attentive to my prayers, to my sigh of supplication.
Who could endure, Lord, if You kept count of every sin?
But forgiveness is Yours: therefore we revere You.

I wait for the Lord, my soul yearns.
Hopefully, I await His Word.
I wait for the Lord more eagerly than watchmen wait for dawn.

Put your hope in the Lord, for the Lord is generous with mercy.
Abundant is God's power to redeem;
May God redeem the people of Israel from all sin.

MICHAH 7:18-20

Who is a God like You, forgiving iniquity and pardoning the transgression of the remnant of Your people? You do not maintain anger forever but You delight in loving-kindness. You will again have compassion upon us, subduing our sins, casting all our sings into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and enduring love to Abraham, as You promised our fathers from days of old."

I  step out of the river, and do my Loving-kindess and Reiki meditations for all the souls I have transgressed, knowingly and unknowingly, and for those who have transgressed me as well...

The river is calm, still, and it is warm. It is a beautiful day, and I go home feeling light, and released in so many ways, and give thanks to the Rabbi and his congregation at Beth Shalom for their wonderful service of healing!

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