I remember my first Yom Kippur in Israel; it amazed me to see everything stop and yet at the same time to see everything come alive. There were no buses, no cars; there was no noise from restaurants or stores as they were all closed. From every street corner I saw people walking with a lively gait to various synagogues. The air was so festive and electric. Why was everyone happy? My perception of Yom Kippur from my youth was nothing like this. I knew it as being a heavy day; a long, solemn day of fasting.

I hate that there is a negative consequence There are few things that I can actually say I hate. One of them, without a doubt, that I can say I hate is punishing my children. Maybe "punishing" isn't the right word. It's more like I hate that there is a negative consequence to an inappropriate or dangerous action that they do, such as hitting. Let's say that one sibling hit the other one. Regardless of the reason we have a rule in our home: Hitting is not allowed. Usually, when a person hits, they have to go to their room. There are times when instead of sending the child to their room, I go to my room and the "punishment" is that they don't get to be with Mommy. They are still young enough that they actually want to be with me and this is at times more affective then sending them to their own room. Either way, if you hit you are in "time-out". Now I certainly do not want to send my child into "time-out". I would much rather have them be playing and happy than "punished" and sulking in their room, but I look at playing with a sibling as being a privilege and if you can't play nicely, then you have to be alone.

My heart is so heavy when I show disapproval to my childrenEvery minute my child is in "time-out" I look at the clock, waiting for the time to be up. To me, two minutes feels like four and five feels like ten. My heart is so heavy when I show disapproval to my children. I love them; I adore them. I only want them to be happy and happy with me. But my job as a mother is to educate them and guide them, which at times means going against what would make them happy. I can't always say yes; sometimes I must say no. I can't always praise, sometimes I must rebuke. A voice calls out from the other room, "Mommy can I come out?"

"Are you willing to apologize and play nicely?"


I run to the child's room, "You can come out." I embrace them and pray that they learned the lesson and am thankful that they at least feel enough remorse to admit that they need to give an apology.

When the prophet Isaiah prophesized the end of the exile he told Israel, "Comfort, comfort My people," says your G‑d. "Speak consolingly of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her period of exile has been completed, that her iniquity has been forgiven; for she has received double for all her sins from the hand of G‑d."

The end of the prophecy isn't logical. Why would G‑d punish Israel doubly for her sins? He didn't. After all, as the Torah states and as we repeat over and over in the Yom Kippur prayers, G‑d is "Compassionate and Gracious; Slow to Anger and Abundant in Kindness and Truth; Preserver of Kindness for thousands of generations; Forgiver of Iniquity, Willful Sin and Error; and Who Cleanses." When G‑d punishes, at the most it is measure for measure. That is, at least from our perspective, but from the "perspective" of G‑d two minutes are four and five are ten. To Him, the punishment is double because He doesn't want to castigate in the first place. Like a parent, His goal is not to "punish" but to teach. He shows us that each action has a consequence. The moment we apologize and show even a minimal amount of remorse, He opens the door to forgiveness and embraces us.

His goal is not to "punish" but to teachWhen I tuck my children into sleep at night, regardless of what happened during the day I tell them, "I love you. I love you just because you are you. I love you when you are complaining and I love you when you are thankful. I love you when you listen and I love you even when you don't. I love you when you are happy and I love you when you are sad. I love you when you are laughing and I love you when you are crying. I love you just because you are you and because you are my children."

Yom Kippur in Israel—the streets are alive with energy on this holy, holy day as people walk around festively, knowing that G‑d loves us unconditionally, that He bears no grudge and does not hold any bad feelings. He loves us and all He wants is for us to be close to Him and to be happy. On Yom Kippur He is especially near: waiting by the door like a loving parent, in eager anticipation, to hear us, His children, say "I'm sorry."