We’re having a problem with our refrigerator. If this was a single, isolated problem, I wouldn’t think of it as being such a big deal. But it’s not. It’s another thing to put on our list after five days of other plumbing problems and more ... and more ...

When my husband pointedI felt like running away! From what? From everything! out to me the malfunctioning refrigerator this morning, do you know what I felt like doing? I felt like running away! From what? From everything, from all the problems.

I admit that this thought—the one of running—is something that comes up from time to time in those moments when I feel overwhelmed. I’m not necessarily overwhelmed with things to do. Things to do you can prioritize and cut back on, but I’m talking about overwhelmed with life, my life. It especially comes when I feel like it’s one thing after another—a river flow of problems, challenges and difficulties.

I start to fantasize that if we could only run away to another place, then for sure it would be easier.

I think back to our last apartment and its constant plumbing problems. I look at our current apartment with its unanticipated constant plumbing problems and a thought hits me. I can’t run away! Why? Because when I think about what I really would be running away from, it’s not the problem ... it’s me. When I want to escape, it’s because there’s a lack of clarity of my role in life and a lack of desire to take responsibility.

Let me explain. Some problems can be fixed, and some problems can’t. Some problems have solutions, and some don’t. It’s not the problem that’s the problem. It’s how I look at and deal with the problem. It’s understanding that the difficulty is from G‑d,and it therefore has a purpose that’s sometimes beyond my comprehension, but somehow there to make me grow.



Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It’s the day to ask forgiveness for our transgressions; the day to take responsibility for our actions and our reactions, and not to run away from them. Yom Kippur is an extremely holy day when we are confronted with something huge; we are confronted with ourselves.

As Yom Kippur draws to aYom Kippur gives us the opportunity to return to ourselves close, we read from the book of Jonah. Jonah was a prophet with a clear mission from G‑d. He didn’t want to fulfill his mission, and so he ran away. From whom? He tried to run away from G‑d. Jonah boarded a ship. He was eventually thrown into the raging sea and swallowed up by a fish, and Who did he find inside it? He found G‑d right there with him ... and he found himself.

Yom Kippur gives us something more than the opportunity to start new with a clean slate after a day of fasting, praying and seeking forgiveness. Yom Kippur gives us the opportunity to return to ourselves. It’s the day of understanding and forgiving. Understanding that this “problem,” too, is from G‑d, and it was perfectly designed for me, so that I can get to know me—who I am, what my strengths are that I need to bring out, and what my weaknesses are that I need to work on. It’s a day of confronting, not escaping. It’s a day of acknowledging, not blaming.

Yom Kippur is about getting to know yourself and your true essence as a holy human being with a tailor-made mission. Each person that comes into your life is there for a reason. Each difficulty that comes up is for a reason. Each one is to make you grow and enable you to reach greater spiritual heights.