It’s Yom Kippur, Please Don’t Feed Your Ego

We live in a fast-paced world and it’s only getting faster. Life is the toughest kind of balancing act — it puts Man on Wire to shame.

We’re constantly swaying back and forth, trying to stay upright. One minute we’re overemphasizing the past, the next we’re worrying about the future. Where’s the middle ground?

You can practice your tightrope walking skills all you want, but you still may end up falling, whether it’s your own fault (where are my self-sabotagers at?) or due to external factors, such as wind.

For most of history, this would be fine, so long as you’re not doing anything illegal. The difference is that now if you fall, there’s a chance you go viral. There’s that chance that you wake up to seeing your face with 1 million-plus views next to it on YouTube. Did cavemen have this problem? If a cave-person made a mistake did someone draw hieroglyphs of the situation all over the place? I doubt it.

That’s because we’re a culture obsessed with digital documentation. Not only that, but we crave constant praise. Is that a bad thing? No, I don’t think so. Who doesn’t want to feel wanted, respected, and admired? The problem comes when that admiration turns into dependence.

As an example, look no further than the President of the United States. Donald Trump constantly talks/tweets about ratings, and abandons ethics and morals in exchange for likeability. What’s more, our days are driven by Snapchats, retweets, and “likes.” I’m just as, if not more, guilty as anyone else.

That’s why this Yom Kippur I’m saying: let’s feed our stomachs more and our egos less.

Okay, okay, okay. Don’t yell at me, every rabbi ever. I understand that there is a point to fasting. I definitely attended this day of Hebrew School. I definitely didn’t pretend to be sick this day in order to stay home and play video games. I get it: by slowing our biological rhythm we are supposed to find our inner-self, in turn making it easier to connect with God — a spiritual awakening of sorts. If we really have to fast, fine.

But it’s 2017…

Sometimes I’m so busy at work that I forget to eat on a normal day. Now, not checking my Twitter account for a whole day? Don’t be insane. That’s what I call a sacrifice.

All joking aside, during the holiest day of the year — on the day of atonement — isn’t it important for us to think about not only ourselves, but how we fit in with the greater ecosystem? It’s not simply, “How can I become a better person?” But, “How can I become a better person to help the world around me?” Right?

Come on, I can barely text on an empty stomach let alone have an existential crisis.

These days, it’s so easy to get caught up with our own daily tasks and objectives. I’m speaking from experience. Get that promotion, meet that deadline, don’t wear that, what’s so-and-so going to think, try to be social, okay now feel bad for being social while you have work to do…

Who would have thought being an adult would be so hard? And I’m a white male.

Rarely are there prescribed times in life to sit and think. Yom Kippur is one of those times. And I’m all for it.

I’m not saying that I’m going to wake up and do yoga from sunrise to sunset, but I will be carving out a chunk of my day to reflect. Will I think about myself? Of course I will. Self-care is extremely important, especially these days. I’m a believer that you can’t fully, 100%, completely, help others without first knowing your own self-worth, what you have to offer — your skills, talents, passions, favorite episode of Friends, etc.

And while at age 25 I probably don’t know myself completely, I want to ponder where I fit within the bigger picture.

How can I help others? What can I do to improve my friends’ lives on a day-by-day basis? How can I become a better person? Why do Almond Joys get such a bad rep (they’re so good)?

Everyone finds their own meaning: in holidays, in traditions, and in life. Who am I to tell someone how they should act? But sometimes traditions are meant to evolve. For instance, did you know that instead of taking selfies people used to ask other people to take photos of them? How weird is that?

So this Yom Kippur, why not think about substituting an empty stomach for an empty ego. Why not commit to being selfless, instead of committing to sneaking granola bars?

However you choose to reflect, may you find significance and have a meaningful day.

But seriously, how many people sneak granola bars while fasting? You can reach out to me privately.

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Jon Savitt is a TC JewFolk Guest Author

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