I am extremely angry with G‑d for what He did to my family. I used to at least go to synagogue on the High Holidays, but for the last 12 months I have stopped going, and I don’t light candles before Shabbat anymore.

Since I despise G‑d, am I still obligated to fast on Yom Kippur? I have absolutely no intention of telling him that he is great and merciful, and all the other praises mentioned throughout the Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services.


I wish I could know you better before responding, but I’ll just share some of my own feelings for now.

You’re angry at G‑d. That’s okay. Every real, deep, and significant relationship has multiple facets. You're in pain, and G‑d could have created this world so that you would have no pain. And, regardless of the source of your pain, you’re angry at Him and feel that He should do Yom Kippur to ask for your forgiveness. Fair enough.

I have a very old memory of being a child, getting very angry at my mother, lashing out at her, and she saying to me, “I’m sorry.” I don’t remember the reason I was angry, or the context, just that tiny sliver of time. There’s another memory I have of my six-year-old son in terrible frustration and anger (also over some forgotten incident). He lashed out at me and hit me, and I held him . . . tightly, tightly . . . and murmured, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry . . .”

It was right then that I understood what my mother had said to me when I was angry at her. It wasn’t an apology. It was sorrow at my pain. As I felt sorrow at my son’s pain, I told him “I’m sorry” because I saw how hurt he was. So hurt that he lashed out at me, his mother, whose very existence was to love and protect him. His mother, whom he dearly loved, depended on and looked to for all his needs. So angry in the moment that he hit me.

And I embraced him.

Yet I wonder at these events. As a child, I lashed out at my mother, but I didn’t turn my back and walk away from her. And then, as a mother, I absorbed my own son’s anger with open arms. He didn’t turn his back on me, and I guess that as long as we were in combat, we were engaging each other.

I’m not going to tell you what to do. You’re hurt, and you’re angry. However, know that whatever way you decide to respond to G‑d, He’ll be there embracing you, even as you kick and scream and pummel at His shins. He’ll be there—just stay engaged.

So much more to say on this subject, but I would like to hear your thoughts first.