No, I am not talking about penalties in soccer especially since I had look up “yellow card” to be sure that there was such a thing as penalty cards in soccer. I am talking about Yom Kippur. One of the three Jewish holidays most non-Jews are aware of. This is the day that most know as the “Day of Atonement” and my family prefers to refer to as the “Day of AtONEment.” Creative right.
Transitions are very important to my people. We spend the day on Fridays preparing for Shabbat, the Sabbath when we make a separation between all the stresses and weight of the week and a time to focus on yourself. It is the original weekend.
Rosh Hashanah is the holiday that begins a very important transition for Jews. We blow the shofar (ram’s horn) on Rosh Hashanah also known as Yom Teruah (Day of the Call or Blast or Clarion depending on the translation). It begins the Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe or AWEfull Days) when we try to repent for our mistakes, our missteps over the past year. The Yamim Nora’im consist of 10 days that end with Yom Kippur. After Yom Kippur we are supposed to be done focusing on our transgressions from the previous year.
I believe there is a beauty in this. How many of us are guilty of dwelling obsessively over our various slip-ups? It is not healthy to fixate on the negative however it must be dealt with at some point. Therefore Judaism gives the opportunity to deal with our issues and then the chance to let go and move on. I think this makes a lot of sense.
What do multicolored cards have to do with this? Growing up in my father’s congregation in Florida we had a particular tradition. Yellow, green, blue and white index cards were handed out to everyone. We would then write one or more of our wrongdoings on these cards and each one represented the target of that wrongdoing.
Green = nature
Blue = yourself
Yellow = others
White = God
Here is my attempt at a poem to remember them:
Green is for what the earth has seen,
Blue is for you and Yellow your fellow,
And most difficult to cite
On white the sins against God we write.
Okay, I tried.
These cards would be collected on Rosh Hashanah and some would be read on Yom Kippur. It was a cathartic way of physically letting go and moving on. This is important.
With all that said let me apologize to those I have wronged over the past year. We do what we can to be the best we can be but mistakes happen and people, our planet, our faith, and our ‘self’ can get hurt. Sometime we are unaware of pain we may cause. Again I apologize and hope that in the coming year I can grow and learn do my best to help bring about Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).