Yom Kippur: To Want and Not Have, Reflections on Resolution

Are we born sinful?


We are given impulses to help us survive, thrive, and propagate.  These impulses are not inherently sinful, although they can become sinful in the extreme if they harm ourselves or others.  what about the godly ideal?  it is clearly not a human that is inebriated perpetually to insensitivity, nor a person who eats so much that they can no longer move, nor the person who is unable to control their impulses.  And yet are these not biologically motivated processes through neurotransmitters and receptors?  On some microlevel possibly beyond the choice of the individual, and yet able to influence them?  How can an individual be held accountable?  I think that the point is that we can all fall short sometimes under certain circumstances.  But the ideal is to have a choice.  To want to be able to choose.  This can make us a better person.  For some, it is important to acknowledge, this may require medication.  For others, this may require dissociation and remodeling of responses.  For yet others, strengthening a relationship with a relatively dissociated ideal, God, will enhance their ability to choose.


Control and choice of action.  I can feel hungry, and not eat.  I can feel sexually driven, and not act.  I can want alcohol or drugs or tobacco, and not consume them.  I can be angry, and not act or express my anger.  I can be worried or afraid or panic, and not flee or act or express my worry.  I can be impatient, and not be hasty.  I can be sad, and not cry.  I can feel pain, and endure it.  I can want, and not have.  I can be discouraged, and not give up.


The point is not to never feel or do these things, but to be in control of our actions when we do.  To not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the experience.  Why is control the ideal?  Because otherwise, we are left without choice, and can be enslaved by our environment.  At this point of enslavement, our actions no longer reflect our unique capacity, that God-given spark.  Rather the actions become simply responses to others.  We are like dead.  Reduced to a Newtonian response to our environment.

So, this is our opportunity.  To test ourselves.  To be stronger, to be better.   Happy Fast.  Happy Yom Kippur (the 25 hour fast starts this evening).



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