Happy new year! Welcome to volume 5771 of Table Talk.
I have some really good news.
After 10 years of effort, the Hebrew edition of The Art of Amazement is now in print. I haven't actually put my hands on a copy yet, but 1,000 copies were sent out to teachers and organizations around the world, thanks to contributions and pledges from many readers of this blog. $9 enables me to put one book into the hands of one young Israeli and follow-up with him or her. Another shipment will hopefully go out soon, and hopefully we'll eventually fulfill the requests we have for 15,000 copies.
This week - three steps to feeling more human:
1. A timely update
2. An important addition
3. A child's plea for mercy
First, the update:
I gave a few Yom Kippur classes this week. In case you missed them, here are links to two handouts that I used - great Yom Kippur table talk for all ages:
Get the free handouts
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Second, even if you were with me, here is something that I did not say.
Something that is arguably the #1 most important thing to do before Yom Kippur.
Something that has nothing to do with being "religious".
Something that has nothing to do with fasting, praying, yada yada yada.
This afternoon, try finding a moment and place of solitude, and saying aloud the following words:
"I hereby forgive anyone who has hurt me in any way in the past, whether it was intentional or unintentional, knowing or unknowing, negligent or unavoidable. (If they owe me money or an apology, they may still repay or apologize, but I am not going to harbor grudges or bad feelings.) Beginning right now, I am looking forward and not backward in all of my relationships."
Guaranteed to make you feel more human than you felt before you did it.
(What do you have to lose, besides your pride?)
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Finally, people sometimes ask me what's the best way for a non-religious person to do Yom Kippur? How about kids? Make them sit through a long service bored out of their minds?
Are you crazy?
If you are not inspired to sit in shul, PLEASE do not go to services just because “I’m supposed to.” That’s a great way to kill your soul.
If you have any influence over children, PLEASE do not drag them to services just because "I’m supposed to". That's a great way to kill their souls.
A better use of Yom Kippur: go visit an assisted living facility. Go see how your single/divorced/widowed neighbor is doing.
And if you are one of the pious ones who likes to be in shul, make sure to read the words of the Yom Kippur Haftara - this is exactly what the Prophet Isaiah is telling us to do.
Think about it.
Happy Yom Kippur
PS - there may not be an update the next 2 weeks because I'll be sitting in my Sukka.
PS – this inspired 104-second video is all about changing one’s perspective: