Dr David Lieberman summarizes the human experience as follows:
– The body wants to do what feels good.
– The ego wants to do what looks good.
– The soul wants to do what is good.
We all possess a pure soul that wants to do the right thing. However the drives of the body and the ego often lead to mistakes in the form of harmful words, harmful actions, and harmful thoughts.
God knows we make mistakes, after all He is the one that created us with the body-ego-soul conflict. In His infinite goodness, He gives us one day of the year which is set aside for some serious soul-searching. A day that we set aside the drives of the body. A day that we can freely admit out mistakes. A day that we can reconnect to the pure soul that we each possess. That day is Yom Kippur.
Fasting and abstaining from other physical pleasures is not a punishment, but rather a means to break free of the demands of the body, so that our beautiful souls can shine through.
The other key component of the day is the quiet verbal admission, that we’ve made mistakes. We say things that are hurtful. We’re not 100% squeaky clean in financial matters. We eat things we shouldn’t. We fantasize about things that are unhealthy. We don’t always offer or show the love, care, and comfort that our family, friends, and neighbors need.
But the admission of our faults is really the foundation on which we can grow. We are great people, with the potential to increasingly be loved and loving towards people and towards God. On Yom Kippur, God gives us the opportunity to put our mistakes behind us. That is why many Jewish Sages consider it the happiest day of the year.
Have a meaningful Yom Kippur!