This week marks the period between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The ten days between these High Holidays are called the Days of Awe. During the Days of Awe, Jews take an inventory of their life and make amends, either to God or to another person, for their words or deeds that missed the mark. They also practice charity, study the Torah and pray. Tradition states that during these days, the book of life remains open until Yom Kippur, and you have an opportunity to influence how God will inscribe you in the book for either a sweet or a difficult year.
You don’t have to be Jewish to see the benefit in taking stock of your life, making amends with people who you may have hurt, squaring away your relationship with the Divine and sharing your abundance with those who are less fortunate. The Jewish High Holy days usually arrive just after the start of the school year, so it is a good time to look over the past year and seek ways to begin afresh to pave the way for a sweet year to come.
Here are some ways that you can celebrate the Days of Awe in your own way:
- Apologize. Thinking back over the last year, are there apologies that you need to make? Are there people you hurt, either consciously or unconsciously? Now is a good time to make amends, starting with the simple words, “I’m sorry.”
- Be charitable. I am always being asked to contribute to various worthy causes - it seems like everyone is walking for some charity nowadays! Be sure to give what you can when asked. Alternatively, seek out your favorite charity and send them an unsolicited contribution. All non-profit organizations are hurting for money at this time, so your donation will be deeply appreciated. You could volunteer your time for a charity. At the very least, clean out your closet and bring your unwanted items to Goodwill or your local community exchange.
- Pray. Talk to God and then listen for a message back to you. It only takes a few minutes and it will strengthen your connection with the Divine. Ask for God’s forgiveness for whatever you have done to miss the mark of recognizing God’s love in your life. Know that you are forgiven even before the words rise to your lips.
- Study the good book. Whatever the “good book” is to you, read it this week. It could be poetry, the Bible, a motivational book or a really great novel - anything that uplifts your soul. Spend some time investing in your mind and your spirit.
Jews and non-Jews alike can honor the Days of Awe this week with just a few minutes each day. Your spirit will be refreshed and you will be prepared for a sweet year!