Yom Kippur 5776 – Purify Our Souls

“My God, the soul that you have given me is pure. You created it, You formed it, You breathed it into me; You keep body and soul together. One day You will take my soul from me, to restore it to me in the world to come…”

Every day Jews begin their day with a reminder that we believe in the opposite of original sin: we believe in original purity. The soul that comes from God is pure; it is our misdeeds that are impure.

We mess up. We do bad things. We speak cruel words. We fail to pay attention to the people around us, even our loved ones.

It’s as if the soul is pure golden ball, and as we go through life we throw mud and crud and crap on top of it until it gets to where you can’t even see the gold anymore.

As I write this, we are a few hours away from the start of Yom Kippur. The High Holidays are a time when we try to restore some luster to our soul. We try to get our purity back. We try to clean the crud off and start over.

So here we are on the brink of the Day of Atonement. We’ve done our always inadequate efforts to clear out some of the crud, to find that pure golden soul within. Having done our part, tonight, at Kol Nidre, we will stand before God and ask for Her help – help in finishing the job, in restoring us so that we can go into the new year with a fresh start, with our souls restored to their beautiful golden state. Of course, it probably only prepares our souls for another year of abuse, but at least for a moment, let us feel fresh, new, forgiven, and forgiving.

G’mar chatimah tovah, may we all be signed and sealed for a good year!

Reb Barry


Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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