Yom Kippur in Casablanca

Yom Kippur has come to a close and my bed looks like a rabbi’s library hit it. There are books of Torah and Kabbalah and women’s prayer books and synagogue prayer books all over the place. I have a pile to finish and a finished pile with the book “How to Understand Israel in 60 days or less” that I finished in the first hour and was onto prayers and meditations

Today felt like a fish bone right in my throat. I should expect this if I have 25 hours to sit with myself without distraction. No food, no coffee, no CNN, no news, no phones, no politics, no internet, no filming.

Yom Kippur also makes me feel small but that is partly the point. It’s been a truth fest for the last 10 days and in the last 25 hours and that is tiring.  It’s not just that I feel spiritually small but physically weak. Maybe it has something to do with not eating for 25 hours but I also am realizing I am just weak and unhealthy but unaware of this due to daily distractions. I could barely hold up an old lady who was falling down at synagogue.

Another thing is that Yom Kippur feels like an intervention with all my addictions listed up in front of me to see during this day. All the silence announces the needs and then add to it forgiveness, the theme of the day which is such a terrifying thing to give to yourself or anyone else.

It’s really my first Yom Kippur in many ways. It’s the first time it has ever been so personal. It was Shiyara’s first time to stay with me and she pushed me to get to the synagogue early. “Come on mom we are going to be late and they are going to finish the prayers and leave the synagogue. Come on already.”  She was again like on Rosh Hashanah the only girl in the women’s section saying loudly “Amen” with the men. All the women looked at her with delight. Shiyara is not shy, she’s her own person already.

When the shofar blew this year standing in the doorway of the packed synagogue’s women’s section holding Shiyara I closed my eyes with my fingers and hid myself tearing up from the women around me with their white lace head covers that always remind me of where Catholic women have their roots, especially south Americans and the Spanish Catholics— the women’s section of a synagogue.

“I am trying g-d. I am sorry and I am really trying.” I say in the silence of my mind.

I brought with me a quote from Rabbi Schneerson to meditate on at synagogue. This is what stayed with me until the end of the day at synagogue and each time I run my eyes over the last sentence I start getting bitter little tears in my eyes. I want to be like the last line. It’s infinitely hopeful and painful to imagine on yourself and yet how do i get there? I don’t know. But I want to be there.

There is no human relationship until a relationship has broken down. As long as each fulfills the others’ expectations, there is only a contract. There are no people, only transactions.

Once trust is breached, a new depth enters: The depth of the person. If there is truly a relationship—if it is the person inside that matters—then there is a search for forgiveness, for return and for healing.

So it was that within forty days of entering into a contract with the One Above, the Children of Israel sinned. And the soul below and the One Above discovered they could not part from one another.


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