“Our true destiny is not the pain and suffering that can seem so pervasive in the world, but a joy and fulfillment beyond imagining.” — Michael Berg
Yom Kippur brings joy to the Creator, and in turn, the Creator gives that joy back to all of us.
On Yom Kippur, you ask? An entire day of no eating, drinking, or bathing probably doesn’t sound joy-filled or fulfilling, but that’s the point. It creates the perfect condition for the practice of calling on positivity even when the physical looks and feels constricted.
We can’t access the gifts of Yom Kippur by being good people or spiritual people.
I know that sounds counterintuitive. However, we actually reveal the most Light and make the most significant impact in moments that are hard and where we struggle.
The Zohar says, “Light is only Light if it comes out of darkness.”
So, there are two kinds of Light. Let’s describe Light as the blessings, energy, and reverberations from good deeds, thoughts, or actions.
1. Light from Light
This is the way it feels when you’re having a great day, everything is flowing, and you are generous and kind to everyone you meet. We all love days like that when everything feels right, and just before you fall asleep, you think what a great day you had. And all those positive interactions do reveal Light in our world.
2. Light from Darkness
This happens on the challenging days when nothing seems to be going right. You’re frazzled and harried and probably a little short-tempered. Those are the kinds of days that you feel like you aren’t being your best self. But, in the midst of that ‘bad day, let’s say you stop for even 10 seconds to help someone else. Or you take 10 seconds to think about a spiritual lesson and try to realign your consciousness. Those moments are Light from Darkness and the impact of those moments are far more powerful than what you may think of as more extraordinary acts of kindness or good. That one minute is worth more than 100 minutes of Light from Light.
It’s the work we do when it is the hardest that reveals the truth of our being. It’s the sharing we do when it’s difficult or the kindness we offer despite our misgivings or reservations that make the most difference that transforms our souls to the greatest degree. It’s not powerful because it was hard for the sake of being difficult, but rather because those moments gave us the opportunity to go against our nature.
The reason that Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year is because it is comprised of all those moments we were able to transcend our bad day, grumpy mood, or challenging situation. The Creator gathers all that energy of Light from darkness and makes it available to us on Yom Kippur.
In that energy is everything we want for the year to come for ourselves and others. It is all available to us, every blessing imaginable.
We disconnect from the physical world as a way to connect as clearly as possible to the spiritual realm. By fasting, we raise our consciousness and are thereby given the opportunity to remove any negativity we have accrued throughout the year. An important lesson of Yom Kippur is that for the 24 hours of this window, we only experience joy, fulfillment, and peace despite physical comfort.
And not to create more stress for anyone, but it’s a pretty important window in time because how we experience the 24 hours we observe Yom Kippur dictates the blessings that we will receive in the coming year.
For these 24 hours, we bring ourselves to a place where we experience only joy, fulfillment, and peace. No matter how the current circumstances look. No matter how the physical picture looks.
The only time you can receive blessings is when you’re in a state of happiness. Why? Because like attracts like, so if you’re in a state of sadness, you can’t attract Light and blessings. Only happiness can do that.
We all can manifest blessings in our lives every single day. But too often, we get stuck in a pattern of only noticing what we lack or the things that aren’t working. As we continue to focus on these things, we create more of them through our thoughts, words, and actions. Just as we can draw positivity to us, we can draw negativity in the same exact way.
I love this story that Jim Carey shared with Oprah.
He told her about the early days of his career and how hard he struggled during that time. He was barely scraping by and had nothing except his dream of becoming an actor. However, instead of accepting and succumbing to his circumstances of lack and seeming limitation, he would consciously visualize all the things he wanted. This empowered him to continue in his pursuit.
Eventually, he took this practice one step further and wrote himself a check for $10 million for “acting services rendered” to be paid on Thanksgiving three years from the date he wrote it. He carried it around in his wallet every day, and it became tattered and worn, but it gave him the constant reminder. A reminder that success was on its way. Three years went by, and as Thanksgiving rolled around, he learned that he would be making $10 million on a film called Dumb and Dumber. The rest, as we know, is history.
As Jim Carrey illustrated in his story of manifestation and success, it takes time for a thought to manifest. It needs the consistent power of our attention and energy.
“From the supernal worlds, we can draw blessings according to how we are.” – The Zohar
Being joyful means being connected to the Creator and to each other, without judgment of ourselves or anyone else. Being sad, disturbed, worried, or upset is the last thing you want to feel on this day.
On the evening of Yom Kippur, we wish each other Gamar Chatima Tova, meaning ‘blessings for your year.’ It’s more than just a tradition or a social nicety; it is significant because the more people we genuinely wish well upon, the more blessings will come to us – and the more people wish us well, the more blessings they will receive.
This is the idea I’ll leave you with. It’s important to do our individual work, but it is also important to assist and support others in theirs.
“This is the gift given to us on Yom Kippur—not religiosity, but an opportunity to increase and improve the spiritual and physical quality of life of all human beings.” ~ Rav Berg
Gamar Chatima Tova!
I wish you a joyous Yom Kippur connection!