"Hear, O Y'Israyl: YAHWEH our Elohim, HE is One. You shall Love YAHWEH your Elohim, with all your Heart, and with all your Soul and with all your Might... Love your neighbor as yourself. I am YAHWEH." - Deuteronomy 6 verses 4-5 & Leviticus 19 verse 18 Even that year in 2006 when I missed out on virtually all the Jewish feasts of the year (for the first time since I could commit things to memory), Yom Kippur wasn't one of them, this is because of how important that day is to us Jews. I remember Avram Grant had to miss the game between Stoke City and the side he coached, West Ham United in 2010 because of this day. Growing up as a kid, it was one of the days the Assembly records the highest turnout, and you'd see members who mightn't have come a whole year, marking their presence, while strange faces, not members of our congregation turning up at ours, just because they couldn't make it back to their destinations in time, or were in the city for business, and had to be at the nearest assembly to partake in the activities of the DAY OF ATONEMENT. Not even the other feasts with lots to wine and dine with records as much worshippers as you'd find on this day, and the reasons aren't farfetched. As a kid, I was excited by it, and I know I wasn't alone in looking forward to that HOLY CONVOCATION (the Holiest Day in the Jewish calendar), though of recent I've begun to notice that some children cry as the afternoon of the Day of Atonement approaches for food, and I'm aware that some missions make exceptions for children of certain ages to be fed by noon, others by 3pm and the rest to carry on till 6pm in the evening, of course with the solemn fast starting from the evening before. In my time as a kid, it was a privilege to drag it to 6pm with the adults, and many of us did back then, even if we had to sacrifice our voice and strength in exchange. We were trained with fasting a day in a week till noon, such that till date my stomach rumbles at noon everyday from that experience, and I have even cultivated the attitude from just a single day in a week, to several for health reasons, but would've been difficult had I not been raised with the hand of self-denial for the purpose of spiritual growth as a kid. Therefore, the fact that children cry today out of hunger, by noon on Yom Kippur is unfortunate and testament to how they've been raised without any desire by parents to teach them the tenets of sacrifice. It is what is generally lacking in today's society, and is at the core of the moral decadence plaguing our existence, in thinking that we must get everything we want by all and any means possible, it is the dearth of self-denial. But self denial (not just in terms of feeding, but including from anything that you can derive pleasure from, including the "Liverpool vs PSG" game that I would've loved to see, sexual activity with your spouse and the likes) isn't all that Yom Kippur is all about; that is just the physical aspect, and a minutiae of the entirety of what the day entails, seeing as the much of what is done is spiritual than it is physical. It is as important as the foundation for the construction of a skyscraper, which informs that it be properly laid for the construction to stand the test of time, though by the time that which is conceived is executed, the significance of the former pales in comparison to the finished work, or outcome in the form of the masterpiece that's the edifice. On this day (from one evening to the other) of reckoning, we humble ourselves before the Most High YAHWEH, acknowledging the fact that we owe our existence to him, and are nothing without him. In prostrating before him, we reconfigure ourselves with the dust from which we were made (and to which we will eventually return). In submitting ourselves totally to his will, we admit HIS Power over us, and in understanding this, begin to be less of ourselves for an expression of HIM in us. It is when we reconcile ourselves with HIM, and seek to do right not just by and with HIM, but with our fellow man. We envisage what life could've been had man not fallen, and we had been AT ONE with our creator as had been the contemplation at creation, and the anticipation when we eventually shed our corruptible for the incorruptible that death (if we are adjudged to have done right) will afford us. It was desirable to sacrifice lambs and bulls, and the likes, when Yom Kippur was in its infancy, but seeing as in the present day, with better knowledge concerning things of the spiritual; and as those things in the past were but a shadow of greater things to come, what becomes pertinent today, is the presentation of ourselves as living sacrifices before him. Interestingly, in those days of animal sacrifices, emphasis was heavily placed on cleanliness and change for acceptable ways of living amongst the populace that will present themselves before YAHWEH, when they were to be brought before his presence. Hence, while they diligently offered those sacrifices, HE searched their minds instead, which was why the acceptance of those sacrifices by HIM was never based on how sweet-smelling the accompaniments were, or in the large numbers of beasts that were slaughtered, or the exertions that went into presenting a most impressive offering on an imposing altar. It had always been about the mind. Every other preparation might have just been to distract the mind from wandering away from seeing the Majesty of YAHWEH, such that in making such elaborate compositions to communicate HIS splendour before men, the focus remains on the Greatness HE exudes, and how we are indeed fortunate to be associated with what HE represents. In OFFERING ourselves before HIM as LIVING SACRIFICES, we understand that even our lives should be lived only according to his dictates, and in reconciling ourselves to and with him, we x-ray our lives (within the "ten" DAYS OF AWE from the beginning of the year at ROSH HASHANAH) with the intention of resecting aspects of it that are found wanting, especially in the outgone year, with the hope of doing better in projecting HIS image in us into the new year. Expectedly, our journey into perfecting the relationship between us and YAHWEH, and between us and our fellow man should get better with the more Yom Kippur we are privileged to see and observe in our lifetime. G'mar Hatima Tova (May you be sealed in the Book of Life)! 'kovich PICTURE CREDIT: - https://goo.gl/images ANOTHER YOM KIPPUR https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/another-yom-kippur/

Published by m'khail madukovich