A sermon by Rabbi Zelig Golden, Yom Kippur 5782

“On Yom Kippur we do the deep work of examining our blind spots, asking ourselves, ‘How have I missed the mark? Who have I hurt? What behavioral patterns are getting in my way of living my full life?’

“Yom Kippur is like those 40 healing years in the wilderness. For on Yom Kippur we metaphorically dig our own graves — we practice our death. We cease from all of the worldly deeds that give us life: eating, drinking, and creative endeavor (including sex). We wear simple clothing, for some the kittel or burial shrouds.

“The main event today is repeating the Vidui, confessional prayers, like the Vidui we say on our actual deathbeds. Yom Kippur calls upon each of us to confront death in order to fully live.”

This sermon was delivered by Rabbi Zelig Golden, Executive Director of Wilderness Torah, on Yom Kippur 5782 (10 Tishrei | September 16, 2021), at the Camp Newman Retreat Center in Sonoma County, CA. This was part of Wilderness Torah’s Cycle of Teshuvah journey of celebration, reflection, and renewal. Visit wildernesstorah.org for more videos, teachings, and information.