Yom Kippur and the Paradox of Opening and Closing Doors

open-door-3The gates of repentance are always open,
Judaism teaches.
Yet because we procrastinate…
Or close our eyes to our mistakes
And to our mortality
We have a timeframe.

The gates are now open…
The gates of repentance and forgiveness.
Tomorrow evening, they will close
With a service called “Neilah”
Which means “locking.”
How fearful…
The gates will be closing
and we have so much work to do.

The paradox…
To enter the closing gates,
We need to be open —
To realizing hard truths
about ourselves, our society, our world.

To enter the closing gates…
We need to open our minds
And our hearts
To others —
To those who are close
And to those who are distant
And also
To those so different from ourselves
socioeconomically, politically, personally, racially, religiously…

The gates of repentance are always open,
But sadly we are not.
And so we fast, we reflect, we pray.

God, how can we be open
To healing what is broken,
Before it is too late?

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