I find Yom Kippur depressing. Why spend a day focusing on our sins and failures? Do we need to be reminded how far we are from being perfect?
Yom Kippur is a celebration of being human. And being human means being imperfect.
Human failure is so predictable, G‑d has placed on the calendar an annual day of forgiveness. It is not an optional holiday only for those who happen to have sinned. Yom Kippur comes every single year for every single person. It is as if we are expected to sin, that there will always be mess-ups that we have to make amends for. G‑d is so not surprised by our failings that He allows a clean-up day every year. We were never meant to be perfect.
Every Yom Kippur we receive a note from G‑d saying something like this:
I know you are human. Humans are not perfect. I made you that way. And I love
you anyway. In fact, that's why I love you - because you are not perfect. I already had perfection before I created you. What I want from creation is an imperfect world that strives to improve, filled with human beings that fail, get
up and move ahead. By being imperfect but persevering nevertheless, you have fulfilled the purpose of your creation. You have achieved the one thing that I
can't do without you - you have brought the perfect G‑d into an imperfect world.
With Love, G‑d
For all of us who are not perfect, Yom Kippur is our day. Rather than be
depressed by failings, we celebrate them. Every sin, every slip up, every failed
attempt at living up to our calling is another opportunity to grow and improve.
Failing at our mission is itself a part of the mission.
Yom Kippur is the day G‑d thanks us for being human, and we thank G‑d that we aren't perfect. If we were, we'd have nothing to do.