Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yom Kippur יום ביפור

So I was feeling a bit better on Sunday afternoon and was just hanging out on my computer...and then I got the weirdest urge...

I thought to myself, I'm going to Tzfat for Yom Kippur.

Now this was at about noon, Yom Kippur started at 5pm. The last bus would be at 1pm
*Day Light savings time was in-between Shabbat and Yom Kippur.

Well I knew of the place I had been to three times in Tzfat and I looked them up on the internet. Ascent of Tzfat  They have a Yom Kippur Special.

I ran to my room, packed, and ran to get to the bus. To get a bus I have to go to Kiryat Ata about 4min drive. 25min Walk. Its safe to hitchhike with Kibbutz owned cars and I have always been picked when I try. I waited and waited and no one was coming. So I called a cab. Well right after I called a cab...a Kibbutz was approaching so I waved it down. I was with two other guys that wanted to go to town. We all got in. The driver said that the town is closing down and there is noting to do. So the other two guys got out and stayed. I asked if he could take me to the bus stop. I had 10 mins to make the bus. We started talking and he asked where I was taking the Bus to. I said Tzfat for Yom Kippur. He said, Oh I am going to a town just near Tzfat. I will take you to Tzfat. Wow. Perfect. *Things happen for a reason and know I knew that going to Tzfat was the right thing to do.

I got to Ascent and got my room. I had not much time before the pre-fast meal and I wanted to go take a spirutual dip in the Ari Mikvah. A custom of men before Yom Kippur.

I walk down hundreds of steps, take my dips, and head back up the hill to get dressed. If you have never been in Tzfat, let me tell you...you better be ready for the large amount of steps.

So I go back to Ascent for Dinner, but just before dinner there is a short service for the day. I sit next to an American looking girl about my age. We start talking and it turns out that she graduated from CU my Freshman year. She didn't like CU much so we didn't talk about it much. Well then the table starts to fill up with a bunch of older Israelis. I got very squashed and couldn't really talk to the CU girl. I got up after my chicken and went to the library to find a book to read. I found some good books and made a small pile. I started to read a very good book called The Thinking Jewish Teenager's Guide to Life
by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz. I recommend this book to anyone.

After reading a few chapters I went to start the Prayers for Yom Kippur. They went until about 7:30pm

After the service at 8:30pm there was a class on Kabbalah and Yom Kippur. It was a great class and I really enjoyed it. In short it was about how to "Return to G-d." The question asked was, How do you return to g-d if g-d is always there? If you can't get away from G-d then How can you return to G-d? Well it turns out that G-d has a front and a back, in this metaphor for G-d. If you are standing back to back with G-d then you are away from G-d. This is the furtherest away from G-d as you can get, and yes G-d is still right next to you. So in short, To return, you come face to face with G-d.
*I can go more in depth to make more sense and apply it to Yom Kippur, but not in the blog post*

Well I then head back to my room and get some sleep.

Then next day I wake up at about 7:30am and walk down to start the next service for Yom Kippur. I was early so I picked up another one of the books I had in my pile and began to read. Now this book is a book about a man that I met in the old city last year on IsraeLinks with Chabad. The book is below. I highly recommend this to EVERYONE, it is a MUST read!!! I got so into the book right away, which is very rare for me and books, but I was. I really want to talk about the book because it is what I did from 8am until 4pm...and I finished it, but it is really in-depth and I don't have it with me know. The thing I liked about it the most was that Gil and I have the same outlook/belief in what G-d is.

Coming Back to Earth: The Central Park Guru Becomes an Old City Jew by Gil Locks

Well I finished the book and went to the final three services of Yom Kippur. I davened (prayed) for about three more hours. It was very fulfilling especially after all the insight I had learned reading the book. We finished and did havdallah and ate some cake and drank some water. I was surprised about how easy the fast was this year, esp after being sick. I went to my room and packed up and went to eat dinner. I ate quickly and talked to no one. Come to mind, I only talked to the one girl and say a few one words to a few people...but the only words that came out of my mouth were prayers. Very special.

I went to the bus station. I didn't even think about going to the bathroom before my two hour journey, but while waiting for the bus...I found out very quickly that was a bad thing. There was a near by gas station and risking missing the bus I ran to go to the bathroom. I made it and everything was good. I didn't miss the bus either. The bus was very packed headed back down to Haifa, but I had a seat. I was pretty tired, but I didn't want to fall asleep so that I wouldn't miss my stop in Kiryat Ata. Well in the last 45min of the trip I fell asleep. I woke up past where I was supposed to get off and ended up at the end of the route in Haifa. Oh well, I got on another 5 sheckel bus and it took me right back to Kiryat Ata. I then walked back to the Kibbutz in the dark and went right to bed.

Well a good day and night. I hope everyone else also had an easy fast and was sealed in the book of life.

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