A Moment Out of Time

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence

“A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.” by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

What is the essence of religion? Who can be defined as a religious person? How do we live in a relationship with the Divine? How are we accountable for our words and actions, for their impact on the world and others?

These questions are at the heart of the Yom Kippur observance. The Jewish “Day of Atonement” is set at the beginning of fall, as the weather gets colder and we turn inward, literally and figuratively. On this day, we are commanded to fast, abstain from outside distractions and deeply examine our path and life. However, this is not to be a mere mental exercise; we are compelled to enact change by honestly apologizing to others for harm done and actually altering our behavior for good. 

This tradition compels us to annually assess ourselves: Am I being the best version of myself that I can be? What is my impact on my human and physical environment? How can I improve on that? 

As the world around us moves faster and communicates ever louder, how much more important is it to commit to a moment of personal silence – out of time – for internal introspection and self-exploration. 

May we evolve and transform into the best versions of ourselves. May we gain a renewed clarity and empathy and join others’ to create movement towards a world unified in compassion and acceptance