The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) has come and gone. I prayed and repented and went to synagogue. And, as if wearing a Spanx contraption from thigh to under-boobage wasn’t enough of a punishment, I fasted.
The children’s service consisted of an hour of singing and puppetry and a few prayers. One might assume that such a service would be way more fun than sitting in the grown up service for hours of prayer and not a puppet to be seen. I guess I shouldn’t have hoped for fun or joy on such a solemn day, and I was punished accordingly. Levi attempted to entertain other children with magic tricks and slapstick comedy. Over and over again, he hit himself in the face and fell over on the floor. Asher lay down under our chairs like a dog for the entire service. Occasionally, Asher kicked his brother or Levi took his slapstick too far and hurt another child. So proud.
Gabriella and I sang all the songs enthusiastically on behalf of our family as if to compensate for our children who refused to participate in the service designed specifically for them. If they had been paying attention, they might have learned a thing or two. The service leader broke down this reflective holiday in ways that kids can comprehend. We all make mistakes. We can say we’re sorry for them and try to do better this year. The boys were too busy making mistakes to hear anything.
After the service, we congregated outside for Tashlikh where we throw breadcrumbs into a body of water to as if to throw away our mistakes. For the sake of the children, we did not walk a mile to the nearest river but cast our crumbs into the bushes alongside the synagogue instead.
I decided this was a teachable moment for Asher, so I kicked off the apologies.
Deborah: Asher, these are the mistakes I have made. This is for the times when I lost my temper with you when I should have spoken to you calmly. This is for the time I chose not to play Jr. Monopoly with you when you really wanted to play with me. Asher, what mistakes would you like to throw away?
D: You can’t think of anything you’d like to do better this year?
Levi: I want to frow mistakes!
D: Here you go Levi.
He’s got quite an arm, that Levi, though it is unlikely that he was considering his mistakes.
Here’s the kicker about Yom Kippur. You refrain from eating so that you can reflect and focus. You fast for 25 hours, so you’re hungry – really hungry. And you’re cranky – really cranky. The likelihood that you will act in an unfitting manner on Yom Kippur is exponentially high because you are hungry and cranky. I’m much more kind and reflective on a full stomach. Priests remain celibate to devote themselves to God and their church. I understand that denying them sexual relations doesn’t always turn out so well either. Anyhoo…
Only a few hours of fasting to go.
Deborah: Well it’s 4 o’clock, and I’m still waiting for my apology?
D: Aren’t you going to apologize for all the ways you’ve wronged me this year so that you can be inscribed in the Book of Life?
G: I am sorry, Deborah, for all the ways in which I have treated you that you have not deserved.
D: Thank you. I forgive you.
G: And you?
D: Yeah, I’ve been struggling with my apology.
G: Too many to name?
D: I’m actually having a difficult time coming up with anything that I sincerely regret.
G: Uh huh.
D: Ok, I’ve got one.
G: Can’t wait.
D: Gabriella, I’m deeply sorry if you have misinterpreted my words or actions to be anything other than constructive or benevolent.
G: I forgive you?
Levi’s magic trick.