Yom Kippur: Increasing Our Capacity to Love
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Yom Kippur: Increasing Our Capacity to Love

Karen Berg
September 24, 2017

"No one can become fully aware of the essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized, but ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities." - Victor Frankl

Can you imagine how you would treat someone close to you were you to know that tomorrow they would not be here in human form? Most likely you would connect to them on a level that is beyond the physical – beyond beauty, beyond wealth, beyond approval, or any of the other things that tend to distract us from the truth of our being. You might grant them pardon for their perceived shortcomings, find the healing power of forgiveness and love, and see them in the highest light. Most likely you would be able to accept them fully as they are knowing it is unequivocally the Creator who has placed them there as they are, with all of their perceived negatives and positives.

Now can you imagine that we all saw and treated each other (and ourselves) this way all the time? With a deep and utmost respect and reverence for the Divine Spark that resides within? 

There are innumerable stories of people who rose to greatness only because there was one other individual – a teacher, parent, or mentor – who believed in the goodness inside of them. In my own life, I moved from school to school as a child so often that I was never able to put down roots and learn to read or write properly. It wasn't until one teacher saw something in me and created the space in his consciousness for me to succeed that I was able to make progress academically. The care and perceptivity of one individual changed my life. Just think of what the world could be if we were to all grant that to one another! One by one, we would strengthen the light in ourselves, in each other, and in the world – tilling the soil in which seeds of goodness and peace could be planted to flourish for the benefit of all. 

This Friday night to Saturday, we have the cosmic window of Yom Kippur which presents us with the tremendously powerful opportunity to connect to that transformative love and unity. By refraining from certain activities of the body on this day, we become for a moment like angels who do not eat, drink, engage in sexual relations, nor partake in any other activities that relate solely to the physical body. In the Kabbalah Centres across the globe, the men will wear white for the same reason, drawing upon the pure goodness of our transcendent Divine Essence. 

The sage Rav Ishmael wrote that there are three kinds of love: love of oneself, love of the Creator, and love of another. This week with the power of Yom Kippur we have a portal to access all three, increasing our capacity to love.

On Yom Kippur, we are stripped of illusion and the truth of what really lasts emerges. Let us taste it, draw upon it, and allow it to transform us into more giving, sharing, and caring individuals for the year to come.