A wise Indian elder once described his inner struggle:
He reported that inside him are two powerful dogs. One of them is kind and good. The other is mean and evil. These two dogs fight each other all the time.
Someone once asked the Indian elder which of the two dogs wins? He replied: The one that wins is the one that I feed the most.
This parable is at the heart of what Yom Kippur is about – we control who we become.
On Yom Kippur (Tuesday night-Wednesday night this year), we refrain from feeding our physical bodies so that we can more deeply think about how we nourish ourselves spiritually. It is really easy to slip into patterns of self-deprecation, negativity, or not believing that change is possible. On Yom Kippur, we work to make sure that we only feed the inner voices that allow us to create positive change in our lives.
Jewish tradition also offers us a recipe for how to embrace this process:
- Teshuvah – Repentance. We acknowledge what we have done wrong, apologize, and set ourselves on a path to make sure that we do not commit the same wrongs again.
- Tefilah – Prayer. We recognize that we are not alone. We ask for help from God and our community to recognize the good within.
- Tzedakah – Charity. We do something good for someone else. This is a tangible reminder that we create positive change in the world.
We do acts of Teshuvah, Tefilah and Tzedakah so that as the sun sets on Tuesday night and Yom Kippur begins, we become sustained by the voices that remind us our value and infinite potential. G’mar Hatimah Tovah, May we all be inscribed for a good year.