October 4, 2022

Yom Kippur: a Day of Atonement or Punishment?

To all of my Jewish readers celebrating Yom Kippur:

I wish you a joyous and peaceful year full of good luck, vibrant health, and longevity.

This Yom Kippur (the evening of Tuesday, October 4th, until sundown on Wednesday, October 5th), is going to be a little different for me than other years.

My father, Peter—a beautiful human being who was my prophet, my tutor, my leader, my light—passed away on January 1st, 2022, and when he left me, he left a hefty hole in my heart. He was so pious and I loved watching his energy as he celebrated every single Jewish holiday with zest and verve.

I still find it terribly challenging to fill the emotional void he left behind. In a nutshell, I’m just devastated, and I don’t know if the pain of his loss will ever truly disappear for me.

Nine months after his passing, I am still reeling…and it hurts so f*cking much.

In the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur is a day of atonement, where the people who abide by the customs and traditions of the holidays spend a full day in synagogue praying to the Holy One to forgive us for any sins we may have committed against ourselves and others.

Which has always made me wonder…

Is this holy day truly meant for atonement—or for punishment?

Do we beat ourselves up needlessly for things that have already happened? Or do we ask the higher power to dismiss every wrongdoing we’ve committed with an open and receptive heart?

My opinion?

No matter what our beliefs are, no matter our race, creed, religion, or moral high ground, the truth is we all beat ourselves up often and we all want to be more forgiving and compassionate so we can truly live a life free of stress and aggravation.

Am I right?

I think fast days are meant to be reflective in every way imaginable. They are meant to make us truly appreciate every aspect of our precious lives. In my humble opinion, it is only in our suffering that we can know the real meaning of peace and tranquility.

You cannot appreciate the good if you don’t have a sprinkling of sh*t.

So, if you celebrate Yom Kippur, remember:

You don’t have to spend a full day in synagogue to prove how worthy you are. You already have the gifts, talents, strengths, and assets you need.

If you are fasting, I wish you an easy day, and may you reflect only on the good you already have in your possession.

Have a blessed holiday.

Shana Tova U’meh’tu’kah. (Have a Sweet New Year)

I wish you love and light, always.


Please consider Boosting our authors’ articles in their first week to help them win Elephant’s Ecosystem so they can get paid and write more.


Read 2 Comments and Reply

Read 2 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Stephanie Mezei  |  Contribution: 19,855

author: Stephanie Mezei

Image: Menachem Weinreb/Unsplash

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Relephant Reads:

See relevant Elephant Video