Humanity – that’s us,
We have done some terrible things in the past year.
• There has been war in many places in the world.
• There have been violent attacks on individuals at home and abroad.
• Big lies have broken trust in business.
We confessed it all together
when we said many times today
“al chet shechetanu l’fanecha”
the sin we committed against You.
• We confessed on behalf of all of us that we hurt others,
• We hate without cause,
• We defraud and lie.
What must G-d think of us at the end of this day of horror
surely very great anger,
But then humanity,
has done some wonderful things
over this past year.
Take medicine as an example,
just since this time last year we
have become better at healing
We may pray to G-d for healing
with all of our doubt and concern
as to what that prayer may mean
but we are surely very effective
partners in the effort.
But there is an aspect of healing that has made no advances this year.
It is a kind of healing that starts
afresh from a clean sheet every
healing for the soul.
Healing for the soul makes no advances because it cannot be done by others for us.
In healing for the soul G-d and the religious life is a help for certain.
Healing for the soul is work that we each have to do for ourselves.
Why is this?
It’s because the hurts and blockages which make us feel that our soul is broken are very ‘sticky.’
They are ways of behaving that we do over and over again even if we know that they get us nowhere.
A few pages into our Neilah service tonight
we will speak about sins,
meaning bad behaviours,
“our familiar and unwelcome companions, fastened, fixed to our souls.”
We can’t seem to stop doing them even if we use this day well
if Yom Kippur does make us take the time to question our soul damaging behaviours.
Towards the very end of the volume of the Talmud (Yoma 86b)
on Yom Kippur the Rabbis ask the question
should you keep confessing the same thing Yom Kippur after Yom Kippur?
Doesn’t it just become insincere?
Rav Huna answers the question yes – you must – because
“Once a person has committed a sin once and twice,
it is permitted to him.”
How could you say that?,
asked the Rabbis and students around him.
“It’s not really permitted.
Rather, it appears to him as if it were permitted.”
So you have to return each Yom Kippur to consider even the same behaviours as you considered last year.
In this closing hour,
• as the Gates of Mercy close
• as the opportunity to take the peace and undisturbed spiritual space of Yom Kippur to change ourselves continues for just one more hour- take control.
• Let us earn a place in the world to come,
• Let us go in our mind to those ways of behaving which hurt our soul to do.
• Those ways of interacting with others which we fall into and say, it’s just our nature.
• Those for which we put the responsibility on others, who irritate us,
who ‘ought to’ put up with how we are.
• Take responsibility for them ourselves.
• Pray that we will have the strength to change these behaviours
• Let us ask G-d’s help to heal our soul.
Rabbi Akivah ends the section of
Yom Kippur saying
at the end of this day
“feel happy all of Israel.
Today cleans you.”
Done right it is a healing for the soul.
Rabbi Akivah says
“feel clean after today”.
G-d has today washed us,
so to speak
in the Mikveh of Israel
put pure water on us!
Let us use that cleanness as we leave today to cleanse that of us which we confess year after year, to address our repeated bad behaviours,
to fix those part of you which we must take responsibility
for if we are this year to heal our soul.
What does G-d think of us at the end of this day?
Not that we are mired in horror rather that we have boundless potential if we will only take responsibility to grab it.