For Our Sins -- a Gentle Heart

Leon Olenick *, 9/2/2003

I was thinking about the practice of pounding our hearts with our fist
while doing al khayt on Yom Kippur. At least symbolically, this simply thickens and toughens the callus on my heart.

I have never physically punished anything in my life. This does not work for me. I have thought of a different gesture and a different kavanah for this practice. I gently touch my heart, and as I place my hand over my heart space I see myself gently going into my heart and pulling out the klipa — the hard shell, the callus — for
the particular confession or realization.

By pulling out rather than pounding I am dis-lodging them and breaking up the kilippa energy with awareness rather than force.

I am also bringing these negative energies into the light created by the Kehila, and this light through a collective positive energy will dis-empower the negativities.

I feel this is our opportunity not only to clear our own vessels but also to clear the universal vessels and allow G-D'S light to illuminate the world.

* Olenick is a jewish-renewal teacher and chaplain in Florida.

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