As Rosh Hashanah ends and Yom Kippur approaches I am reposting this essay which drawn deeper reflections from readers than any of the other 210 essays on http://www.rabbifuchs.com. It still makes me wince when I read it.
Have I made progress in this area during the past year? Maybe a little, but surely not enough. And so I pray as the Day of Atonement draws near: “Help me, O God, to distinguish between that which is real and enduring and that which is fleeting and vain.
Yom Kippur is almost here: It is the Day of Awe. It is the culmination of a 40-day period of reflection and repentance, which (if and only if we take it seriously and personally) can leave us feeling cleansed and renewed. But it takes work, hard work.
All year long we puff ourselves up in an attempt to impress our bosses, dates, prospective employers, those with whom we communicate on Facebook, and everyone else. Yom Kippur demands that for one day we strip away this puffery.
And so I look deep into my soul and ask: Why did I do the things I did? What was I really hoping to accomplish? Did I want to help others? Or did I want to aggrandize myself? Can the two desires be congruent? God commands me to struggle with tough questions. There is no place for pretense on Yom Kippur.
And so, I…
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