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Yom Kippur, 2012: Turning from Self

by David Yeagley · September 25, 2012 · 23 Comments ·

I used to attend services at Temple Beth Shalom, in Hamden, Connecticut (on Whitney Avenue). It was a conservative synagogue. At the time I was attending, Rabbi Benjamin Scolnic was presiding (and still is.) I remember one of his Yom Kippur sermons especially, but I also remember the prayers from the prayer book. Only once a year did they use those particular books, or only on the high holidays.


Temple Beth Sholom, Hamden, CT.

There was a confessional portion which I always found stunning. The reading calls on the congregants to acknowledge the sins committed against others, but then adds a confession, “but no one have I sinned against more than myself.” It was a litany of self-revelation in form. Forgive me for defrauding others, but no one have I defrauded more than myself. Forgive me for lying to others, but no one have I lied to more than myself.

I thought again of those passages this Yom Kippur, 2012. I have been sick for several weeks with a sinus infection of some kind. I have been up a lot at night, long hours. I have done a lot of praying. On September 23, the seventh day of Rosh Hashanah, I posted that I was now praying for my enemies, from the heart. I said that I have never, ever done that before.

Last night, late, I realized something about that new experience. I now have to make a “confessional.”

The reason I am able to pray for my enemies is probably simply because the professional success I am having now is such that they cannot injure me as they have done in the past. I am moving beyond their influence. Therefore, I have a certain freedom to address their crippled, deformed souls.

There is a transparent weakness, then, in this matter. Praying for your enemies when they’re crucifying you is one thing; praying for them when you are resurrected is another. I doubt I could have ever prayed for them when they were causing pain. But now that the pain is subsided, I can afford to pray for them.

See? It is not righteousness, at all. It is just human, spiritual groping again. Reaching out for some semblance of imaginary godliness. Praying for enemies, from the heart, is indeed liberating. I benefit immediately from that. I will continue to practice this divine statute. Who knows, it might benefit my enemies themselves. This would be miraculous. I would rejoice greatly.

But, I was disappointed in myself to realize that I was praying because I could afford to pray. I am happy to be praying, but, there can be no self-congratulation for some noble, daring discipline. I am without nobility, certainly. This came not really a surprise, but just an unexpected disappointment, normal as it is. Praying for my enemies was such a novel discovery to me, I forgot that it is a revelation, not an a achievement. It is simply a new, deeper duty I have of late learned.


From the old days, but the same issues.

The revelations of the Ten Days continue. I know that the disgust, the outrage, the hatred I feel toward my enemies is not mine to own. Yet, I can’t not feel that way toward them. I can choose to pray for their souls, however, knowing that their sins, their repugnant, repulsive, low characters and slavish emotional vices are precisely those for which the Lord gave Himself as an offering. (Isaiah 53:10). From those abject miseries and their eternal consequences the Lord calls my enemies (Isaiah 45:22). And I am called to beseech His mercy in their behalf (Leviticus 19:17, 18, 34).

So I commit myself to devotion to the redemption of my most disgusting foes. I am no longer concerned with my own feeling of outrage at their revolting aspects. I rather concern myself with their salvation.

At least, these are my thoughts and intents this Yom Kippur, 2012. I’ve never held these purposes before. That’s all I can say. These prospects have come to me during this must unusual season.

Many people probably already know about these dimensions. I am perhaps somewhat spiritually retarded, and maybe even foolish for talking publicly about it. But, because I have said so much, publicly, I have to acknowledge, publicly, my errors when I realize them.

I turn from my own sense of justice, and from vengeance, and turn to the way of God–which is mercy, and devotion to the redemption of lost souls. “To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense,” the Lord said to Moses (Deuteronomy 32:35). These things are not mine to dole out.

Yes, I’m sure I will continue to experience what it called “righteous indignation,” (not because I’m righteous, but because I value and sacrifice for righteousness), and I will continue to be outraged, repulsed, revulsed, and disgusted. But these sentiments are no blessing to me. And, I do not see that they have been effective in changing anything in my enemies.

When the holidays are over, and I resume my address of worldly affairs, politics, and human concourse, I am expecting a different style of expression, one much more accurate, more direct, and more lethal, as it were. The din of rancor is but the bread of the damned, not the reward of the victor. “Where is the outrage?” many conservatives love to cry out, when witnessing the appalling character and behavior of liberals. “Where is the outrage?”

Mine shall be transformed. I, for one, will find a better, more effectual voice. I pray it be so.

Posted by David Yeagley · September 25, 2012 · 7:48 pm CT · ·

Tags: Bad Eagle Journal · Religion




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23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sioux // Sep 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm   

    “but no one have I sinned against more than myself.”

    I can’t sleep either, Dr. Y – your transformation is intriguing. I think I am desperate for such a transformation myself. I am letting the Enemies of the State get to me, keeping me from seeing life clearly. My pride/arrogance/self-righteousness have long blinded me to the injury I do first to myself. Words of God are saving if we would only listen, especially the letting God have His vengeance on our enemies. Do you believe that there are only two kinds of people? The Saved and the Unsaved?

  • 2 David Yeagley // Sep 26, 2012 at 9:36 am   

    Well, I think maybe there are those who see the love of God, and simply believe it, espouse it, or claim it, and those who really don’t. Those that don’t either don’t want to, or pretend to, and really don’t like God.

    Save or unsaved? I think this is prophetic, or a conclusion which I cannot make. I want to be saved, but, we’re really not going to know until we walk through the gates, eh?

    I think being saved has to do with simply believing the Word of God. Believing what it says about Him, and believing what He says.

    The Bible says He is not willing that any should perish. That means the people I hate are in fact my special mission for prayer. I know the prayers have a lot more to do with healing me than them. It would be nice if there were some intervention in their disgusting lives, but, there may not be.

    I will be posting on America and the nations, very soon.

    Thanks for your open-heartedness, Sioux.

  • 3 hulagirl // Sep 26, 2012 at 9:56 am   

    Doesn’t the Bible also say, “confess your sins to one another that you may be healed”. May you be healed. I do marvel at your relationship with Him. Lately I’ve been “getting into it” a little about politics on various Facebook friend’s sites, and it is brutal out there. I’ve been in a semi-remission state of rheumatoid arthritis for years but after posting relatively meek arguments on there and getting called names, my pain is back. I guess I can’t stand the heat and have to get out of the kitchen? Or is it Satan trying to get me to shut up? It’s quite a battle. Your post does bring me back, though, to love and prayer for them, and that’s always a good thing, eh?

  • 4 David Yeagley // Sep 26, 2012 at 10:20 am   

    Probably, even righteous indignation is not all that healthy.

    We all need to think more clearly, accurately, and “deadly.” We have also to accept the fact that we do have enemies, and that most of this world will in fact be lost–even those tho claim to be the Lord’s people!

    “I never knew you,” said Jesus to those who had worked miracles in His name!

    We know God in our own heart, first and foremost. What happens between us and the outside world is hit and miss, really. God knows, but it seems a surprise to us, because we can’t see the future.

    It is a terrible thing, to write someone off as lost, as damned. The spirit of the Savior won’t let us do that. The destruction of the godless is, even to Him, “his strange work.” (Isaish 28:21) It is not natural for God to destroy his own creation. But, one day, He will put an end to sin and sinners. That is His promise.

    When the love of God comes over you, it is difficult to understand how He would destroy, but, the Bible shows how He has destroyed–many times, in many ways. He will do it, when the time comes for it.

    And yes, I have often felt a certain satisfaction in knowing the wicked will be ashes under my feet. ( Malachai 4:3)

    I’m just saying, for now, I’m reveling in the new-found sense of compassion for the miserable, repulsive human beings I know.

    Actually, as I pray for them, it seems that they are not so repulsive after all, just lost. Just misshapen, just victims of circumstances…

    If I should offer correction, it should be in the most delicate, encouraging manner!

  • 5 Maharishi of Mayhem // Sep 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm   

    Newsflash: BadEagle.com will be changing its name to: I”m a Good Eagle and you are a Good Vulture.com or, “I”m OK, Your’e OK.org

    The password for the site will be: Kumbaya.

    All visitors to the site must watch a video of “I’d like to teach the world to sing” and must donate $29.95 to the Peace Corps.

    The whole experience will be enhanced by drinking your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid during the site visit.

  • 6 David Yeagley // Sep 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm   

    Nay, but I’ll not be damned with those I damn! (or, whom I feel are damned). If I am damned, it will be while I’m trying to save the damned, at least in my intent…

  • 7 David Yeagley // Sep 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm   

    There’s a difference between “good” and “deadly.” I aim to be deadly. This has to do with the right target–which is the soul, not the office. The heart, not the ticket, the color, or the nation.

    There are those who make their living exposing and chastising the Left, but–have they successfully changed anything? Look who got in office!!!

    There must be some serious, profound change of tactics, at least for me.

  • 8 Sioux // Sep 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm   

    Essential to my salvation is repentance from my sins against God/God’s people. You have to agree to some rules to talk about failure – what if your enemies say they have the same rules, but you would never know it. I think that is why Jesus had contempt for the Pharisees but had hope for the Pagans.
    1) God is #1 – Fail
    2) Do Not bow down to a false graven god(money?) – Fail
    3) Do NOT blaspheme or take lightly God’s name – Fail
    4) Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy- Fail
    5) Honor your Mom & Pop – Fail
    6) Do Not Murder – Pass only in the physical sense, but not spiritually
    7) Do Not Commit Adultery – Fail
    8) Do Not Steal – Fail
    9) Do Not Give False Witness against Your Neighbor – Fail
    10) Do not covet something that is your neighbor’s – Fail

    Jesus came to save us all. Believing in him is not enough. Repent from our own evil ways – Pull the Log from thine own eye etc etc etc

    Free Koolaid for all mine enemies!

  • 9 Maharishi of Mayhem // Sep 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm   

    Dear Saints and Sinners…I believe that about covers it….please know that my previous comments were completely tongue in cheek.

    I am a huge supporter of David Yeagley. In fact, we are friends, I think.

    I will support his dementia in any way that he chooses to display it (or not).

    So, we look forward to the future….Maybe.

  • 10 Sioux // Sep 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm   

    We look forward to the future….due to morbid curiosity…

  • 11 silaada // Sep 27, 2012 at 2:44 am   

    We are humans, there are no « holy men ».How is your prayer more audible for the Life Giver than Chris Stevens’ mother’s prayer? Do you think your prayers will have more impact on the Creator than Marianne Pearl’s prayer? If tyrants get power it’s because too many people choose to excuse their cowardness by philosophy or religion, their selfishness by sophistication. If you see your friends being dragged by rabid crowd, will you hide your arse and pray or will you use firearms? Or maybe you’ll have no weapons because you had wasted your time and you’ll have to watch hopelessly how people you could have saved are being murdered? Are you ready for this? I’m always amused to see all the “sophisticated” people, sitting comfy and spitting on the “baby killers”soldiers.Well, someone will have to do the dirty job. Are you counting on the “inferior sinners” to do it? In the meantime comrade is getting closer to the fan and help of all kind is and will continue to be organised all over the world by the “extremists” who just won’t give up and who say in a direct manner: “It ain’t your highway”. I’ve never considered any of my enemies as a worse person; neither have I thought their souls are “crippled”. We’ve all received a beautiful gift from the Creator; the problem is what we are doing with our free will. If one chooses to kill and destroy, we have no choice but defend ourselves. We are humans, our pain is human, fight for survival is human, and despair is human. Indians have always proved our “blood percentage» in battles, neither we need FBI for labo tests, nor foreign governments’”pedigree”.And as my ancestors used to say” If we have to fight, let’s have a blast!”

  • 12 zephyr // Sep 27, 2012 at 8:10 am   

    “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
    Prov 15.29

    “. . . The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
    James 5.16

  • 13 David Yeagley // Sep 27, 2012 at 9:41 am   

    Well, it might seem a bit bold to think that prayer can have influence with the Almighty. However, that is one of the messages of the Bible.

    Silaada, I don’t advocate here that I am any different or better or other than anyone else. I’m simply looking for a better method, a straighter arrow, as it were. Maybe it’s all seen as selfish, me wanted better aim, more accurate weapons, etc.

    Maybe it sounds like it’s more about me than my enemies.

    I think war is in order. I think visceral defense is necessary. I think the inner man is quite different from the outer man, nor do I see the individual the same as I see a nation.

    I think nationhood is part of us, part of an individual. An individual is certainly part of a nation.

    As an Indian kid, in white schools, I have to say, I always thought I was better than everyone else. I have more brains, more talent, etc. Maybe it was all reactionary.

    Maybe I’m the one that’s crippled, and just now realizing it.

  • 14 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 10:32 am   

    “The reason I am able to pray for my enemies is probably simply because the professional success I am having now is such that they cannot injure me as they have done in the past. I am moving beyond their influence. Therefore, I have a certain freedom to address their crippled, deformed souls.”

    This is my experience in a nutshell. My personal enemies have always attacked me when I was weak, when I was down. Nothing requires greater STRENGTH than FORGIVENESS.

    Do I have the strength to forgive? This is a troubling question. The knowledge that my enemies want me to fail, want to see my harmed, would even be glad if disaster befell me — this knowledge causes pain when contemplated.

    Sometimes we do need to scold others — though not necessarily our personal enemies.

    Let me illustrate:

    When my mother was dying in the nursing home, her room-mate made trouble for our family by her temper tantrums. So I tried an ignoble experiment. I knew she was a devout Catholic, this woman; so I warned her that, unless she changed her behavior into that of kindness to others, she might soon find herself in Hell. Now, I did not really know that that was at all true, but I said it for PSYCHOLOGICAL reasons. And . . . it WORKED. The lady transformed herself into the kindest and most conserate person I had come across in years and remained that way until my mother’s last day in that home.

  • 15 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 10:43 am   

    Moreover, I am thoroughly convinced that, had I been truly strong, my personal enemies would have had no power or influence over me. I would never have taken their words and actions seriously. The inability to forgive is a product of inner weakness. And no one has ever known passion more than I, though I have never had the power to act on it — thank God! Yes, I have known what it means to be VERY ANGRY — but have always been in too weak a position to achieve any kind of revenge. I am most thankful for this fact, though it cost me much pain and frustration — beyond what I can express in mere words.

    To be lied about, stolen from, and thwarted in one’s ambition by persons of lesser education but greater resources is not a pleasant experience.

    Dale Carnegie wrote at great length about our need to forgive. It is worth reading what he wrote, as he was a talented writer. “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” will be the book in question.

    I have thought, “Yes, Mr. Carnegie, you are undoubtably right, but HOW can this be done?”

    The answer, I have been told, is simple willingness. If one is WILLING to forgive, the Way will be found and realized.

    I hope this is true, as forgiving my enemies is and has always been my greatest challenge. It is easy to recognize that it’s the right thing to do; harder to accomplish.

    I think that the KEY is that we must first forgive ourselves for our own shortcomings. Forgiving others is perhaps not fully possible until we confess our own mistakes — at least to ourselves — and make peace with ourselves.

  • 16 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 11:00 am   

    I believe that, ultimately, our anger comes from our subconsious mind’s perception that what the other person — our opponent in an argument and the one who is powerfully at variance with us — is saying and doing seriously threatens our survival. It is a triggering of our unconscious Survival Instinct.

  • 17 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 11:37 am   

    When we are unwilling to forgive others, we are indeed sinning against ourselves. We always harm ourselvrs far more than our enemies in the last analysis. Some say that holding a grudge or a resentment produces serious health consequences and may, perhaps, even lead to cancer. Who really knows? Again, Dale Carnegie is the one to read on this topic. In any event, as the saying goes, “Anger Blinds!”

    When we are in a state of sustained anger, we cannot see things clearly, as they are. We may be stuck in a past reality and not find ourselves in the current flow of Time — and thus our judgment fails us and we make errors we might otherwise have avoided.

    —————————————–

    How does this apply to politics?

    You know, how did it affect Plato?

    When Plato saw Socrates put to death by those preaching “democracy,” he simply ceased to be politically active and turned his attention to building the philosophical solution to future political problems, namely, the construction of a new form of government, in theory only, eventually to replace “democracy.” Plato believed, as do I, that “Enlightened Aristocracy” is the best form of government. This is not an aristocracy based on nobility of the blood (i.e., family position), but of nobility of the soul. Any citizen who, from birth, is found to have a “Golden Soul” can become an aristocratic ruler in Plato’s Theory. Plato did not believe in “equality”; people were what they were largely as a result of their genes. Education, however, was the TEST to verify who had the “stuff” to be a ruler, not mere accident of birth.

  • 18 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 11:50 am   

    Last of all!

    I definitely do not believe that our current political system has within it the tools and means of solving our political crisis. We are faced with a situation that must, for the most part, play itself out. Yes, we can keep our own lives on a higher plane to some extent, but the world’s, or society’s, condition is one that must “hit bottom” before there is any possibility of recovery. Western Civilization has gone off the rails, and it will have to crash. This much is inevitable, in my opinion. According to Plato, Tyranny is next in line for the West. After that, there may be a new beginning. Let us pray that it be so.

    To rephrase what I’ve just stated: Liberalism, so long the norm in Western Civilization, has become a deadly addiction. The sufferer, Western Society in general, cannot free himself at this point. Enlightenment ideas have been transformed into Modern Liberalism and “Democracy” has become so deep-rooted that the first stages of tyranny are already upon us. The “wonderful American people” whom the professional politicians continually flatter are actually too ignorant and corrupt and powerless to effect a salvific reform of the society.

    What should this mean to us? Patience with human nature and more of letting things be what they are than complaining that they are not what they OUGHT to be. After all, the law of Cause-and-Effect says that thing are, from one point of view, exactly what they “ought” to be. Things are not “right” according to human standards, but conditions are JUST according to the Divine Law.

  • 19 David Yeagley // Sep 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm   

    Beautiful words, Thrasymachus. Extraordinary, really. We thank you, sincerely.

    Civilization, or “society,” seems always in an evolving stage. From the tribal band, to the empire, and then back–in a way. Humanity is an undulating mass. We seem to learn nothing from the past, at least than we can put in practice. Each generation has to learn the same lessons over again.

    I think the longest-lasting civilized societies are those whose adults were most successful in teaching their children.

    I suppose we could discuss what is civilized and what is not…

  • 20 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm   

    Liberalism is not without its malice (in fact, the malice revealed in rebellion may generate much of its motive-power). I believe that it can give real pleasure to not a few liberals when we conservatives complain most bitterly. Some of them may even experience glee, or a thrill. I’ve seen it on the talk shows on You Tube, where the liberal host is simply delighted at the sharp pain his policies are inflicting on those who hold to traditional beliefs and values.

    I’ve often contemplated what “civilization” really means, but have never found a satisfactory definition. I think we need a Socratic dialogue to find its meaning, just as was used for the word “justice” in the Republic! We need a Socrates to join us here! :)

  • 21 Thrasymachus // Sep 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm   

    Regarding Dale Carnegie: I prefer the original edition of his books to the more politically correct and highly censored ones currently in print. Carnegie was strikingly more a man of his times than the revised editions would have us believe. In the original edition, Carnegie spoke out against abortionist and those libertines who would encourage young women to lose their virtue — things like that, and others, which were deleted from the current editions and replaced with more modern “heroes” as well — persons Carnegie could never have even heard of, since he died in 1955.

  • 22 Maharishi of Mayhem // Sep 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm   

    I think G.K. Chesterton’s observation well advances my own:

    “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”

    It’s a rainy day. Perhaps I will watch “Red Dawn” and clean the guns.

  • 23 David Yeagley // Sep 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm   

    You know, maybe I’m just tired of being indignant. I have changed anyone or anything. I want more than indignation. I want to see conversion. That desire feels better, anyway.

    Tonight or tomorrow, I shall make my first attempt at addressing an offense–but in a hopefully helpful way. We’ll see.

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