When I think of Yom Kippur, the first thing I think about is how hungry I’ll be. Actually, my sense of dread over the coming of Yom Kippur may be totally out of proportion to the actual hunger I’ll feel, but I dread it all the same.
I’m sure the ancient Rabbis or whoever it was that came up with this annual fasting day wouldn’t have cared one whit about my trivial concerns.
In fact, that’s the reason behind this The holiest day of the Jewish year and the culmination of a season of self-reflection. Jews fast, abstain from other worldly pleasures, and gather in prayers that last throughout the day. Following Ne'ilah, the final prayers, during which Jews envision the Gates of Repentance closing, the shofar is sounded in one long blast to conclude the holy day. It is customary to begin building one's sukkah as soon as the day ends. Cheat Sheet – to transcend selfish thoughts and help us connect, ground us, engage us and remind us of why we are fasting in the first place. It’s so we can feel connected to the holiday, the ritual, the promise of being a better human being, driven more by kindness, generosity and love than we were last year. We can therefore use the Cheat Sheet so we don’t “cheat” ourselves out of everything Yom Kippur has to offer.
So in those moments when you’re focused on hunger pains or disinterested in the service, and your mind starts to wander to thoughts of email and bagels, our hope is that these readings will help bring you back to the promise of the blank slate – which is what those ancient Rabbis probably had in mind in the first place.