As part of my business writing course at the local college, I taught my students how to write letters of inquiry, sales, order and recommendation, to name a few. My favorite was always the letter of complaint. We all have complaints about something. The newspaper didn’t arrive or the dentist made us wait forever, construction made picking up the kids impossible or the IRS wants more money. We have daily reasons to squawk and whine, grumble and moan. You may have a legitimate criticism, but simply wailing about your annoyances will accomplish little. Letters of complaint are academic, prescribed, and often extremely successful.

You always begin by complimenting the offending party; for We all have complaints about something example, “I have been a loyal customer of Shop Drug Store for 22 years and had been completely satisfied with your stellar customer service until September 15 at 2:30 PM.” Then you can voice your complaint: “You can imagine how disappointed I was when . . .” Here you describe the specifics of your dissatisfaction. Your tone should be as unemotional as possible and, while chiding the guilty, never slandering the company. The closing is crucial. You state unequivocally exactly what you want the compensation to be. In detail, explain what restitution would absolutely return you to your former status of devoted consumer.

This template is similar to what psychologists insist we employ when criticizing a student, child, friend or employee. We must always apply the “sandwich” method: first a compliment, then disapproval, followed by more praise. Think of Passover: we mitigate the harshness of maror with charoset and matzah.

If this approach is accurate about my most familiar relationships, it certainly must be true about the relationship with my Maker. Although using a food metaphor may seem strange for a day like Yom Kippur, what would the perfect Yom Kippur sandwich be?

The Day of Judgment is quickly approaching. In the past, I have been arrogant enough to bargain with the Almighty. During my heart-wrenching teshuvah (repentance), when I promised a plethora of lofty objectives I intended to accomplish, I simultaneously composed an extensive list of what I needed and wanted for the coming year.

Not so this Tishrei. This year, I will begin with an inventory of gratitude. Before Yom Kippur begins, I will write down 10 things for which I am grateful. I bet it will feel wonderful! When we express appreciation, it actually boosts our physical and emotional wellbeing, changing our perception from negative to positive. Try it! Give thanks for the people you love and those who love you, for your work and for your colleagues, for happy times as well as challenging ones, for your health, your house, the charity you can give, etc. That’s the first slice of your Yom Kippur sandwich.

Now comes the second slice—the stuff you’re asking of G‑d. Write down 10 things you need for yourself and others—your niece who wants a baby, your sister who requires a miraculous recovery, your friend who needs to find a job, your buddy who’s depressed, your neighbors who fight constantly. Let’s share the blessings this year. Take a little time and consider those you know who could use a helping hand.

So what is the “meat” of the Yom Kippur special? The resolutions, the things we commit to Yom Kippur resolutions are spiritual in naturechange. Unlike typical New Year’s resolutions, which often concern weight, fitness or eating habits, our Yom Kippur resolutions are spiritual in nature. Cardiovascular workouts keep that heart pumping, but charity given with gusto will certainly increase your blood flow. Weightlifting may widen your biceps, but using those arms to embrace your children or a sick friend will undoubtedly raise your self-esteem more than a muscular frame. And stretching, considered imperative to any conditioning regimen, can certainly be interpreted to mean expanding your limits to include another mitzvah. So go ahead, write down 10 things you commit to do differently this coming year.

This Yom Kippur sandwich will make your holiday a truly holy day without transgressing any laws. So sometime mid-afternoon when you’re feeling a bit peckish, this “spiritual sandwich” is sure to infuse your Yom Kippur with deeper meaning.