Yesterday, while I was driving her to school in the morning, my seven-year-old daughter asked me: "What's the most important day of the year?"

"Yom Kippur," I replied instinctively. A moment later I said, "Or maybe Purim."

At the next red light I was backtracking again. "Actually, Passover is a very important day in our history. And Shavuot, when we got the Torah. Rosh Hashanah, too...."

I can't really be blamed for my confusion. Open up any Chassidic text on the festivals of the Jewish calendar, and you'll find that the most important day of the year is the one you're reading about. The Passover maamarim (discourses) explain how the Exodus from Egypt is the most significant event of our history, and how it is on Passover, when the Exodus is "remembered and re-enacted," that we establish the very foundation of our spiritual lives and our relationship with G‑d. The Shavuot maamarim say the same thing — about the revelation at Sinai. As do the discourses that discuss the inner significance of Chanukah, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot.... you get the idea.

All of which is, of course, true. At every juncture of the spiritual terrain of Jewish time is embedded a resource — be it freedom, wisdom, joy, unity, commitment — that is the foundation of our spiritual lives and our relationship with G‑d. On each of these, the entire edifice stands.

Yet Yom Kippur and Purim do stand out as "most important days." Both are distinguished by the fact that they are single-day festivals (as opposed to Rosh Hashanah's two days, Sukkot's seven, Chanukah's eight, etc.). Their names even sound alike. Indeed, the great Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria ("The Holy Ari", 1534-1572) says that Yom Kippurim (Yom Kippur's full Hebrew name) can also be read to mean yom k'Purim, "a day like Purim" (which would mean that my first instinct was off the mark: if Yom Kippur is a day like Purim, than Purim should top the list...).

For both days represent extremes. Yom Kippur in its spirituality — we fast, dress in white to emulate the angels, and spend the entire day repenting and praying. And Purim in its physicality — we party and feast, bestow gifts of food to friends and money to the poor, and are even commanded to drink (!) to excess.

Push yourself to your limits and beyond — both these days say to the Jew — and if you do it with all the integrity and devotion and goodness of your Jewish soul and body, there you will find G‑d.