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Inspiration Prompt – The Day Of Atonement

September 28th, 2009 by Avital
[Photo by: Gregory Markchester]

Today is the Jewish people Day of Atonement. According to the Jewish religion, on this day each person is tried before god in the majestic court. The book is opened and all one’s rights are measured against one’s sins – determining whether one lives or dies.

The Jewish religion perceives god as a benevolent god. God forgives all sins made against him but god shall not forgive any sin made against another human being. Therefore the people must sincerely ask for forgiveness from anyone who might have been hurt by their deeds.

Although the Day of atonement is marked as a day of fasting, it is not a day of mourning but a festive holiday. A holiday in which people take time away from their material needs and ponder about their way in life – where are they going to and how are they getting there?

For the sake of this week’s inspiration prompt I want to leave all religious connotations aside and discuss the meaning of taking an annual Day of Atonement.

Taking 24 hours in which we won’t be running towards something. 24 hours in which we think about our endeavor, about the way we treat other people and the way we treat ourselves. 24 hours in which we observe our past ways and plan our future ones, and if necessary change routes.

Sometimes life’s pace is extremely fast and without taking the time to really think about life’s meaning and about what is really important in life, we may lose our way and perhaps lose ourselves in the race.

I believe the self examination done on the Day of Atonement can be meaningful and beneficial to both believers and atheists – everyone examines their ways at their own level.


What do you think about the idea of a Day of Atonement (in a non-religious – but maybe spiritual – way)?

I am very interested to hear from my non Jewish readers whether your religion/tradition has a similar notion.

Please share your thoughts and insights by leaving a comment on this post.

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4 Comments to “Inspiration Prompt – The Day Of Atonement”

  1. Deb Owen says:

    The religion in which I was raised did not have a marked day of atonement. But my personal spiritual practice is one in which I try to be aware along the way, and then take time at regular intervals for atonement. We can get mired down and held back in our lives, creating repeating patterns, when we aren’t aware. This, for me, is partially a cleansing type of practice to make right things wronged, to clear the past, to learn the lessons from mistakes made, to then be free to make conscious choices about where I am now and where I’m heading.

    Because of my personal beliefs in it’s importance, I am eager to learn more about the holiday.
    Thanks for this post!
    All the best!

    • Avital says:

      Thanks for sharing, Deb. I really liked the way you have described your cleansing process: “to make right things wronged, to clear the past, to learn the lessons from mistakes made, to then be free to make conscious choices about where I am now and where I’m heading”.

      Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Ginny says:

    Well I am an Atheist, however I think the idea behind this is great. It is always good for yourself to take a step back and re-evaluate things. Make sure you are treating others the way they should be treated, and that you are living a well balanced life. I love Deb’s idea of learning from mistakes as well.

    Great prompt. If you are religious or not, regardless of doing this for gods approval or your own ~ it is always a great thing to take a moment to “ponder your way of life”

    • Avital says:

      Thanks for sharing your ideas, Ginny. I agree with you 100%. Having a day of self evaluation has nothing to do with religion. It is more about keeping your inner compass intact.