> Spirituality > Personal Growth

Imagine If Yom Kippur Wasn't Just a Day

October 14, 2020 | by Rabbi Rafi Lipner

Retaining some of that Yom Kippur mentality in your every day life.

With the holidays behind us, I want to share with you a transformative idea by Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz (1873-1936), who was the great spiritual leader of the Mir Yeshiva.

Rabbi Yerucham asks the following question: If you think back to what you are like on a Yom Kippur – the state of purity, the asking people for forgiveness and forgiving others, the feeling of connectedness to others and to God like on no other day of the year, the slate that has been wiped clean – why don’t we do Yom Kippur all year long and live on that spiritual plane?

He then continues: I know, I know, the first thing you would think of is, seriously- more fast days?

So he suggests, imagine this. Imagine a Yom Kippur on which you could eat and don’t spend the day in shul. Sure, it’s a different type of Yom Kippur, but imagine that you live throughout the year with a Yom Kippur mentality even as you could eat and go about your everyday business.

Imagine you had some free time on that kind of Yom Kippur. I would imagine that you probably wouldn’t spend those 3 hours scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or watching Netflix, never mind what some people would look for or at on such sites. You might instead read something that would enrich your mind and soul, or spend a little extra time doing some act of kindness.

Imagine that you were with your kids or your spouse or a family member who you might not have the best relationship with or always treat as well as you could. What would those interactions look like?

Well hey, it’s Yom Kippur today! You would likely do or say or even think of something different to try and smooth out the relationship or show a little more love and understanding.

Imagine that you closed a deal on Yom Kippur and were blessed with a lot of money. What would be the first thing you would do? Invest? Buy something? Or think about what bigger project you could achieve through tzedakah with that blessing of money?

What would happen if you went to work on this kind of Yom Kippur? You would probably conduct business in the most honest, altruistic and charitable way, and you’d feel and be great.

Imagine that you were hungry, but on this Yom Kippur you could eat. What would you eat? How would you eat? Would you consider saying a little blessing to thank God for the food?

Imagine you had to dream, but you did so while thinking about Yom Kippur. What would you dream about? What would success look like? What kind of life would you pursue?

Imagine you felt the need to change a few things in your life because you didn’t feel like yourself. What would you change? If it was Yom Kippur, would you change your hair color, clothes or car? Or would you think about the type of person you know you could be if only you could try to change the way you react, listen or speak?

Once you’ve imagined all of that, take a moment and think about the possibility of actually trying to live your life that way every single day, because Rabbi Yerucham posits that truly great people have the ability to live like it is Yom Kippur all year long, with the exception that they can eat. What an amazing lens to take into the days and weeks ahead!

Because after all, while our actions and behavior between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were important, far more important is what we do between Yom Kippur… and next Rosh Hashanah.

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