And G!d says: "And you shall make sure that every time you list the litany of your ugly, and your rotten and your wicked, you end the litany with a prescription for how to move on from it - through reflection, reparation and repair - so that you do not get stuck in the ugly, which is mighty and sticky and will close your ears to the shofar and keep you asleep and in despair.”
And G!D says: "Rosh Hashanah has another name: Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance. And Yom Kippur is called the Day of Judgement. But on Yom Kippur, we cast aside all things that allow us to forget the horrors of the world. All our escape routes. All our distractions. We wake today to face the horrors head-on, so if you want to call Yom Kippur the Day of Staying Woke, that works, too."
And G!d says: “And on this day, you will not be able to turn to another for comfort or escape, but instead must hold yourself. You will surprise yourself with how much enough you are.”
And G!d says: "And lo, let us go. Go deep. Go in. You have done what you can. And now is the time to face yourself. Go with courage, for you are doing the work of the righteous. Go with comfort, for you have not given up. Go with trembling, for though you are small, you are an indispensable part of the greatness. You are necessary. You are essential. You are here."
And G!d says: "And on Yom Kippur, you shall pull away from the pleasures of music, food, drink, but most of all - touch. On this day, you may not lose yourself in another, must withdraw from the dizzying drama of the community, to be alone with yourself - and this is holy work. It is not selfishness. Ultimately, it will lead you out of loneliness."
And G!d says: "Why you remind yourself that your origin is dust, and your end is dust, and humans are but a flock of vanishing dreams: you can't do this work from high up. The work is to be done from your most vulnerable place ~ and what faster way to get vulnerable than go deep into mortality? Shine your lantern on the rotten, the ugly, the stinking guts of yourself, reeking with shame and bile. Bring it to the light. Then get to work."
And G!d says: "And when you have wrung yourself out, and it is the middle of the afternoon, and you are together wailing, take a break. Go outside and smell the garden herbs, go to the couch and rest. Do not do Torah Yoga, for that is an abomination and appropriative as all get-out. But stretch your beaten, hungry body, and give it what care you are permitted on Yom Kippur. To find self-kindness in the midst of atonement - that is the holiest part of the day."
And G!d says: "And when you face the ugly, you will do so with your fist upon your chest, beating at the place where your heart hides, in the hope that you will crack yourself open and let the light in."
And G!d says: "That when you cannot face the ugly because it is too hard and you hurt too much, that's why we have a book full of prayers, idiot. To give yourself a scaffolding through the process of acknowledgment and repentance. So open it and find something that resonates, because otherwise you might get stuck feeling guilty instead of moving towards healing. Keep moving, even when you're not doing it perfectly. Perfection is the enemy of t'shuvah"
From Dane Kuttler's The G!d Wrestlers, The Social Justice Warrior's Guide to the High Holy Days, Sept. 2015
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