Sunday, October 05, 2003

The Lord God called out to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" He replied, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid."

Genesis 3, 9-10 (From the new translation of the Holy Scriptures according to the traditional Hebrew text)

Last Yom Kippur I fasted to save my mother. It didn't work.

I know I shouldn't have fasted to save my mother. This was fake belief, belief for an end, belief in idols.

I didn't really believe it would save my mother. It was more a matter of being one with her beliefs. Giving more energy to her prayers. Fasting for her because she no longer could. Not that she could eat anything either.

This year I have no patience for God and His fasts.

I know recent obsessions and passions have been a way of coping, of channeling my anger and my frustration elsewhere. Because when I try to look at them and understand them, I always end up staring at my mother's photograph with that familiar block of pain throbbing mercilessly in my heart.

Last Yom Kippur I asked forgiveness from my mother in public. It took me a long time to write. I was very nervous about doing it, but I knew it had to be public. I felt I owed it to her to shout it from the rooftop. Later, towards the end, other things were said in private. I am grateful that she died knowing how I felt about her.

This year I will ask for forgiveness in private.

This year I know who needs my forgiveness and acceptance. I know who needs me to tell her that it is alright to be still feeling the pain; that it is okay to be angry; that it is understandable to be swept away with strong emotions

and that it is natural for her to be hiding from herself. But only for a little while.

Seeing as this is Yom Kippur, it would be a good idea for me to also remind her that being swept away, as a way of coping with pain, has its limits. She must remember that the only true possessions that a person has are his or her actions. She must not get lost.

Gmar Hatima Tova