One of the greatest gifts of Yom Kippur is that we take the time to be contemplative, to be present with one another, to bare our souls to God and to remember our loved ones who have gone before. This Yizkor service gives us an opportunity to remember that we are simply a link in the chain of tradition stretching back to Moses. We are individuals woven into the fabric of humanity and the greater world – something that can be easily forgotten as we go about our busy days.
Yom Kippur’s rituals require us to “check-in” with ourselves and God.
Rav Kook, the first Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Israel was walking in a field with one of his students, who reached down and plucked a leaf off of a plant. Rav Kook responded: “believe me when I tell you I never simply pluck a leaf or blade of grass or any living thing unless I have to. Every part of the vegetable world is singing a song and breathing forth a secret of the divine mystery of creation.” Let’s us take a moment to hear the divine song around us, singing to us encouraging us on even in our grief.
Please take a deep breath and close your eyes.
Perhaps you can hear God calling out to you.
For some of us, only when we are in a state of absolute vulnerability can we hear God. Please allow yourself to enter that state of openness.
As we open ourselves up to God, let us also recall our loved ones who helped us arrive at this juncture. Please also take a moment to thank them.
Please take another deep breath.
Lastly, death is a reminder that life is part of a cycle:
“Birth is a beginning
And death a destination.
And life is a journey,
A sacred pilgrimage –
To life everlasting.”